In Business News this week: Korean Airlines are to acquire a 44 percent stake in ČSA; Česká Spořitelna planning lay-offs despite high profits; despite efforts to find new markets, the Czech economy remains heavily dependent on export to EU states and two Prague restaurants hold onto their Michelin stars.
Unemployment in the Czech Republic hit a record high at the start of the year. January saw close to 590,000 people out of work, the worst unemployment rate since the Great Depression in the 1930s. The government says this is largely the result of external factors, but critics and trade unions claim the government’s ill-conceived austerity measures have undercut growth.
A court in Nový Jičín has declared bankruptcy proceedings against the heavily indebted Tatra truck company. According to the CTK news agency the company is to be sold at a bankruptcy auction in mid-March. Its price has reportedly been set at 300 million crowns. Tatra was established in 1850 for the production of carriages. In 1897 the company produced its first car named the President.
Doctors have issued public warnings regarding the danger of buying medicines over the Internet. According to Czech Public Television some people are now using internet sites to acquire antibiotics, anti-depressants and even hormone therapy which are otherwise only available on prescription. Doctors warn that self-treatment with these medicines may be life-threatening. Many do not contain the substance stated on the packaging and some are past their expiry date.
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.
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”