Sunday, 21 July 2019

HN: Agrofert subsidies three times higher than its taxes

ČTK |
27 July 2018

Prague, July 26 (CTK) - The Agrofert holding, which present PM Andrej Babis (ANO) transferred to trust funds, received the record high sum of 2.1 billion crowns in subsidies last year, which is nearly three times more than it paid in taxes for in 2017, daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) wrote on Thursday.

In 2017, firms which are part of the huge agricultural, chemical and food-processing holding received 1.35 billion crowns in subsidies which any company meeting the given conditions may get for its operation, for example, per hectare of land or per animal it breeds.

Agrofert gained further 0.6 billion crowns last year in investment subsidies, including direct subsidies and incentives in form of tax alleviations.

Nearly half of the investment subsidies went to the construction of a big bakery in Germany. In the Czech Republic, these subsidies were mostly paid to food-processing firms from a programme for countryside development.

Apart from this, Agrofert got 150 million crowns in relation to the guaranteed prices of electricity from renewable resources, especially for biofuel stations.

Agrofert is number one in Czech agriculture and food industry, number two in the Czech chemical industry and a big player in wood processing. It also owns media outlets. It had some 33,000 employees in 2017. Its consolidated profit was 4.8 billion crowns and consolidated turnover 155.1 billion crowns last year.

Agrofert issued its annual report in June. Its spokesman Karel Hanzelka told HN that the holding would not provide any further comment on the report.

The billionaire Babis transferred Agrofert to trust funds in February 2017 after his political rivals pushed through an amendment to the law on conflict of interest under which firms owned by government members can neither draw subsidies nor win public contracts. Babis was finance minister then.

On Wednesday, the Pirates called on Agrofert to return the subsidies it gained. They said Agrofert received the subsidies unlawfully because Babis remains in control of the holding as he is the beneficiary of the trust funds that administer the holding.

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