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Breakfast Brief – 3 April 2009

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Table of Contents

Obama to meet Klaus, Havel; strict restrictions lifted
US President Barack Obama will hold bilateral meetings with Czech President Václav Klaus and his predecessor Václav Havel during the EU-US summit in Prague this weekend. Following complaints submitted to the US embassy in Prague, police have announced that those attending Obama’s public address on Sunday will now be allowed to bring their mobile phones, keys and cameras, which were originally banned.
HN 3, LN 1, 2, 3

Radar opponents plan rally despite ban
Opponents of the proposed US anti-missile radar system from the “No Bases” initiative are planning to march through Prague on the day of US President Barack Obama’s planned speech despite a ban by City Hall. Organisers anticipate some 1,000 people will attend the march, which is to start at 3pm on Wenceslas Square.
LN 2, Právo 3

ODS spent CZK 320m on election campaign
The ODS annual report, published yesterday, shows the party spent CZK 320 million on last year’s election campaign. Party representatives said last September that spending would not exceed CZK 100 million. ČSSD, which won the vote, spent CZK 98 million. Petr Havlíček from the advertisement agency Young and Rubicam said the results show the Social Democrats got a good deal or that the Civic Democrats failed miserably.
most Czech press

Paroubek, Zubová discuss ministerial post
The deputy chair of the newly established Democratic Green Party, Olga Zubová, told yesterday that ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek had offered her party the chance to choose the education minister in a new government. Zubová was among the MPs who voted against the government in last week’s no confidence vote., Právo 2

Count who sought return of property dies
Count František Oldřich Kinský, who was suing the Czech Republic to reclaim property confiscated after the second world war, has died in Argentina. His lawyer, Jaroslav Čapek, said Kinský’s son Karel would likely continue with the claims.

Poll: More Czechs favour nuclear energy
More than 70% of Czechs favour expanding nuclear energy in the Czech Republic, while the number of people who think alternative energy sources can compensate for nuclear power has shrunk to 40%, according to a March survey by STEM.
ČTK, Právo 18

Young people gather in support of govt
Some 100 young people gathered yesterday at Prague’s náměstí Republiky to show support for the outgoing government of PM Mirek Topolánek. Several prominent figures signed the petition “Díky vládě!” that calls for the government to stay in power until the end of the EU presidency.

NGO says most parliamentary groups not productive
Most of the commissions and subcommittees established by the Chamber of Deputies met only once or twice last year and not at all so far this year, according to the anticorruption watchdog Růžový panter. The organisation said more than CZK 10 million is spent annually from the state budget on bonuses for deputies who chair committees.

Ostrava City Hall wins best communication award
The Ostrava City Hall has won the annual EMGC award for providing the best municipal communication services of a total of 337 EU municipalities surveyed by Czech Republic’s Westminster consultancy. Second place was taken by Bilbao, Spain, while the Moravia-Silesia regional office placed third.

Agrofert acquires Agropol
Czech agrochemical group and food producer Agrofert Holding, controlled by businessman Andrej Babiš, has acquired the Agropol company for an undisclosed price. The antimonopoly office approved the acquisition under the condition that Babiš agree to sell seven Agrofert and Agropol companies.
most Czech press

New Fabia selling well in Germany
March figures show year-on-year car sales in Germany some 40% higher than a year ago, thanks to a government bonus that rewards new car buyers for scrapping their old cars. Škoda Auto in February was among the top six car companies in the country, with the new Fabia being the second best selling car in Germany. The carmaker is considering extending production to six days a week.

Bill would allow ČEZ to cut power on nonpaying customers
The lower house approved an amendment to the energy law on Wednesday that would allow ČEZ to suspend power to delinquent customers until they pay their bills. KDU-ČSL leader Jiří Čunek called the amendment a “monstrosity”.
LN 1, 4

PSE rockets higher on Thursday
Shares on the Prague Stock Exchange gained more than 6.32% on Thursday to close at 802.9 points, marking one of the best days for stocks so far this year. Share prices were led higher by Erste Bank, Komerční banka and ČEZ. offers ads on mobile phones
The biggest Czech search engine,, is offering companies the chance to advertise over mobile phones. Ads will be displayed when users surf the website. Seznam started offering its internet services on mobile phones last year in cooperation with Vodafone.
HN 22

Pivovar Klášter struggling on poor exports
Czech brewery Pivovar Klášter from Hradiště nad Jizerou has seen sales fall steeply in the past few years, mainly because of unfavourable export contracts and bad management. K Brewery group, which acquired Pivovar Klášter last year, has replaced the brewery’s management and hopes to return the brewer to the black.
HN 22

Nay looking to buy Electro World
Slovakia’s largest retail electronics chain, Nay, is looking to buy its Czech competitor Electro World, Hospodářské noviny reports, citing Nay head Peter Zálešák as saying the company is planning a deal, but without making any further comment. Nay is controlled by the US-Polish investment fund Enterprise Investor and operates two stores in Moravia.
HN 17, 22

First McCafé to open in Prague
McDonald’s plans to open its first McCafé in the Czech Republic, in Prague, in the second half of the year. A McCafé is a café located inside a McDonald’s restaurant. The company plans to expand the concept to other cities.
HN 20

Czech-Russian trade bank to launch next week
The První česko-ruská banka (PČRB), which focuses on financing Czech-Russian trade, will launch operations in Prague next week. The daily E15 reports that the bank will now operate under a new name: Evropsko-ruská banka.
E15 10

Škoda to deliver 28 Porsche trams to Poland
Plzeň-based Škoda Transportation plans to deliver an additional 28 trams to the Polish city of Wroclaw, the company said yesterday. The value of the transaction is expected to reach CZK 2 billion.
HN 21

CS Cargo sees 56% rise in revenue
CS Cargo saw its 2008 revenue rise 56% year-on-year to CZK 6.8 billion. The results were the best in company’s history. The higher revenue reflected four acquisitions, including CS Expres, AirSea, JTC Transcentrum and TSL Unitrans.
HN 22

Budvar to invest CZK 479 million this year
Budějovický Budvar brewery plans to invest about CZK 479 million this year, including CZK 87.2 million in a new storage area for finished products. A trial operation of the storage area, which has a capacity of 12,000 hectolitres, will start in October 2009.

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