In Business News this week: The current Czech recession equals in length the longest previously recorded; the industry minister says the government will look into the issue of excessively high prices set for solar power; Becherovka loses CZK 100 million due to a spirits ban; and art collectors have spent in CZK 5.4 billion at Czech auctions in the last decade.
The Czech Republic is one of three countries in the world that allows companies to issue anonymous bearer shares which has long been considered a major hurdle in the fight against corruption. Czech lawmakers have now moved to end the practice – but draft legislation that would reveal bearer shares’ owners was stalled in the lower house this week when it ran into subtle opposition by a group of Civic Democrat deputies. MV has the details.
President-elect Miloš Zeman received nearly 1.5 million crowns in campaign donations in cash, the news site Aktuálně.cz reported. By comparison, donors gave his rivals for the post of head of state sums totaling tens of thousands of crowns. Some of the donations to Mr. Zeman’s campaign, which were lodged in his campaign account in person, were in the hundreds of thousands of crowns. The head of the Czech branch of the corruption watchdog Transparency International, David Ondráčka, told Aktuálně.cz that the sums created considerable suspicion as they left no traces in the banking system. Mr. Zeman’s campaign team refused to make any comment on the matter.
The number of Czech companies whose owners are registered in tax havens grew by almost 4 percent last year and has now crossed 12,500 according to an analysis conducted by the Czech Capital Information Agency. According to the data collected 3.4 percent of the total 366,500 companies registered in the Czech Republic are controlled from tax havens. Among the most popular tax havens for Czechs are European destinations such as the Netherlands, Cyprus and Luxembourg.
At a conference co-organized by T-Mobile Czech Republic and the weekly magazine Respekt, representatives of top businesses in the country and those from the non-profit sector came together to discuss how businesses could help society. One of the main topics of discussion was how social responsibility strategies can go hand-in-hand with profitability.
A recent survey conducted by the LMC agency, which operates the website jobs.cz, has found that roughly half of Czech firms turn down job applicants with criminal records. The survey covered approached 151 different firms and the results following the presidential amnesty (which saw more than 6,000 inmates released in January) are far from encouraging.
In related news, Czech exports in 2012 for the first time exceeded 3 trillion crowns, or nearly 158 billion US dollars, according to government figures released on Wednesday. The exports consisted mainly of machinery, vehicles and other final products. Some analysts believe the results point to a beginning of economic recovery in the Czech Republic which has been in recession for over a year. The country also registered a record foreign trade surplus last year which amounted to 310 billion crowns, more than 30 percent more than in the previous year.
In this week’s business news: The Czech Republic will have to build around 13 000 charging points for electric cars by 2020; The greatest number of foreign investors have decided to enter the Czech market last year since the beginning of the economic crisis; ČEZ’s distribution license in Albania has been revokes by the government there; Czech government debt is the eighth lowest in the whole of the EU; Budvar was unable to stop rival Anheuser-Busch from having the right to register the ‘Bud’ trademark in Europe.
Hotel Praha in Prague 6 is due to be knocked down to make way for luxury apartments, the news website ihned.cz reported. The company that has bought the five-star facility, Maraflex, said the hotel had been constructed in such a grand style under the Communist regime that it was not economically viable to run it today. Its employees have already been let go. The hotel is where the Czech national soccer team usually stay when they are in Prague.
The Czech Republic was able to attract 48 companies to the country in 2012, which is the highest number since the financial crisis began in 2008, the financial daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Monday. Hospodářské noviny reported that the increase in the number and size of the investments is most likely due to the improvements in the tax code that came into effect mid-year, which allows for more tax benefits for companies.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
The history of the “German Czechs”