This week in Business News: The construction sector in the Czech Republic is expected to restart growth in 2014; Škoda Yeti was voted the most popular car by British car owners; ČEZ has asked two remaining contenders in the Temelín expansion deal to submit better offers; Economic confidence is down in April, after two straight months of improvement; The Federation of Food and Drink Industries wants to introduce stricter rules on product labeling; Trade unions and employers reach no agreement on minimum wage increase.
In related news, President Miloš Zeman on Wednesday concludes his two-day visit to Austria, his second foreign trip abroad since his inauguration last month. Mr Zeman visited the Austrian Parliament on Wednesday; at a meeting with Austrian and Czech entrepreneurs, the Czech president spoke about the future adoption of the euro by the Czech Republic, and it would protect the country against speculations with the national currency. Mr Zeman also said the two countries should increase economic cooperation.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas is on a one-day working visit to Finland. He is scheduled to meet with his Finnish counterpart Jyrki Katainen and will be received by President Sauli Niinisto. On Friday morning the Czech prime minister addressed the Czech-Finnish Business Forum at a meeting of the European Democratic Union, an alliance of European conservative parties. Finland is an important trading partner for the export-dependent Czech economy, with a stable interest in Czech engineering products and Škoda cars. The Czech side is hoping to raise its traditional export commodities and is seeking new business opportunities in the fields of infrastructure and power production.
In Business News: The EC proposal to lower the ceiling on business incentives could severely undercut investment in the country, the Czech Statistical Office posts the highest Czech current account on record, a Czech district court passes a breakthrough verdict in a dispute over bank fees and one in twelve Czechs now have a problem repaying their debts.
The former CEO of the Czech lottery firm Sazka, Aleš Hušák, is facing a lawsuit by the company’s main shareholder, the Czech Sports Association, over his role in the company’s demise. Sazka’s bankruptcy severely undermined funding for Czech sports and the association is now demanding an apology and one billion crowns from Mr Hušák.
Police this week arrested a six-member gang operating in the area of Domažlice, suspected of producing and selling the illegal drug pervetin (methamphetamine). The detained are two women and four men ranging between 20 and 37 years of age. Police suspect the gang began operation in the area last April. So far, there is evidence of the production and sale of 70 grams of the drug but the amount produced was much higher, the head of the Domažlice police Lubomír Martinec said. Members of the gang allegedly travelled to Poland as well as Germany to buy over-the-counter medicine used in the drug’s production.
The regional court in Brno has declared a farm, hotel and wellness complex in Olšany belonging to well-known Czech comedian Bolek Polívka, bankrupt. The bankruptcy administrator has registered 55 related claims by creditors, owed a total of 56.3 million crowns. Mr. Polívka himself is one - owed nine million crowns of his own money he put into the project. The court issued its ruling ahead of a meeting of creditors later this week. The farm and hotel fell into financial difficulty after renovation costs ballooned past original estimates. The farm, which employed 21 people, had been losing money since last March. The mayor of Olšany has expressed hope that the farm will continue, saying it was an important cultural venue that had also provided jobs.
Residents of Prague’s Vršovice district were set to meet on Thursday to discuss the future of an area between Krymská a Moskevská streets, sold by the local town hall to private developers aiming to build private homes as well as offices. Critics slammed the sale and as leading to the disappearance of another green spot in the area.
The drawn-out Czech-Polish dispute over the quality of food imports this week reached a new level after Polish officials accused the Czech authorities and media of waging a campaign aimed at hurting Polish food sales in the country. Czech officials, meanwhile, complain about poor quality of some Polish foodstuffs, and say inspections prove they fail to meet set standards much more often that Czech products.
Details of Prague’s first luxury goods trade fair for the super rich have been revealed. The Billionaire Fair will be held at the city’s Žofín Palace on the last weekend of September and will feature 50 selected high-end retailers, the organisers said on Tuesday. Interested parties will have to register online and will be vetted as to whether they merit an invitation to the event, for which the most expensive tickets will cost CZK 25,000.
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