Hybášková to lead KDU-ČSL candidates in Hradec Králové
The Christian Democrats’ national committee decided yesterday that former MEP Jana Hybášková, the chairwoman of the European Democratic Party will head the party’s election candidates in the Hradec Králové region. Hybášková will replace former Jičín Deputy Mayor Jiří Vitvar, who will be second in command. KDU-ČSL leader Cyril Svoboda had originally wanted Hybášková to lead the party’s Central Bohemia candidates.
Source: Právo 1, 2
TOP 09 candidate linked to controversial sale
Euro.cz reports that TOP 09’s number two election candidate in Central Bohemian Věslav Michalík used to work for Prague-based investment bank CA IB Corporate Finance where he was responsible for a controversial deal involving ČSOB bank. The CZK 200 million commission that CA IB Corporate Finance received from ČSOB ended up in a Caribbean bank account of Dutch firm Oets Holdings, which was not involved in the deal. Police investigated the case two years ago, but no one was charged.
Source: Euro.cz, HN 1, 4
ČSSD gives Topolánek one week to explain Tuscany
The Social Democrats yesterday asked former PM Mirek Topolánek to release the bills for his recent holiday in Tuscany and name the real owner of the house he stayed in, or else face possible legal action. ČSSD also requested that the leaders of TOP 09 and KDU-ČSL put similar pressure on ODS.
HN: City hall official may be money laundering
HN reports that Jiří Toman, the head of Prague City Hall’s investment department, sold his company Dipling in 2003 to Zoran Kazimirovič, a close business partner of influential businessman Roman Janoušek, who has been investigated by Swiss authorities on suspicion of money laundering. The media is speculating that Toman has access to the account containing CZK 221 million, but he denies the claim.
Source: HN 1-3
Tougher sanctions for medical bribes
The Health Ministry is putting together a proposal to increase the fines on pharmaceutical companies that bribe doctors to prescribe their drugs. Current fines on offending companies stand at hundreds of thousands of crowns. The amendment, to be tabled after the October elections, suggests an up to CZK 3 million fine for a first-time offence and half of the company’s annual turnover for each repeated attempt.
Facebook fans love Schwarzenberg
Comparing fan numbers on internet social network Facebook, Týden.cz concludes that TOP 09 leader Karel Schwarzenberg is the most popular politician with more than 10,500 fans, followed by President Václav Klaus with 3,562 and ODS leader Mirek Topolánek with 2,978. ČSSD member and Central Bohemia Governor David Rath is the least popular official, with almost 18,000 haters.
Interior Minister wants regions to stop paying healthcare
Interior Minister Martin Pecina, who was proposed by the Social Democrats, has sent a letter to ČSSD regional governors ordering them to stop paying fees to regional hospitals, claiming these payments are illegal. Governors questioned by daily Hospodářské noviny say they plan to turn to the courts.
Source: HN 1, 4
27 Czechs died abroad this summer
The Foreign Affairs Ministry announced that 27 Czechs died abroad this summer between mid-June and the end of July, half the figure in the same period last year. Accidents, including swimming and car accidents, were the leading cause of death. Last year 83 Czechs died outside the country over the entire summer period.
Czech army stops recruiting
The Czech army suspended its recruitment of soldiers at the end of June for at least a year due to the economic crisis. Yesterday 260 new soldiers who were recruited earlier in the year were sworn into training in Vyškov.
Source: ČTK, MfD A2
Private hospital protests new insurance law
The head of a Czech-German private hospital in Vrchlabí Vladimír Dryml has asked the antimonopoly office to assess whether the Health Ministry has breached health insurance law by favouring indebted hospitals, which he claims will get more money from the insurers than profitable hospitals. The ministry called the allegations unfounded.
ČEZ listed on EPEX Spot
Czech energy giant ČEZ yesterday registered on the European power exchange EPEX Spot, having met all licensing requirements. EPEX Spot brings together 73 participants from 13 European countries, mainly in western Europe.
J&T posts EUR 106m profit in 2008
In newly released results, J&T investment group posted a 2008 profit of EUR 106.03 million, a 90% increase year-on-year and the company’s best result since 2005. The success was mainly due to the group’s banking and industrial activities. J&T’s energy companies saw annual growth of EUR 113.89 million.
Fuel prices on the rise
Fuel prices in the Czech Republic have increased sharply overnight. The highest selling gas Natural 95 sold for CZK 29.05 on average on Tuesday, up CZK 0.81 from Monday. Diesel prices in the same period spiked by CZK 0.39 to an average CZK 26.53.
Source: Právo 1, 4
Survey: ČR has fourth highest mobile call prices
Mobile phone calls in the Czech Republic were the fourth most expensive in Europe last year, according to an OECD survey in 30 member countries. The average mobile phone user in the Czech Republic paid USD 40 a month last year. The highest call costs were seen in the US at USD 53 per month, followed by Spain and Canada.
Source: E15 4, 5, MfD A1, B1, ČTK
Z1 channel to focus on business
Commercial news channel Z1 will become a business channel starting from September in a restructuring move to help the company cope with last year’s losses worth hundreds of millions of crowns. Z1 head, Zdeněk Šámal, said the TV station is looking to save costs through lay offs and cuts from its large array of programmes.
Source: HN 16
Oil producer up CZK 346.7m in 2008
Ústí nad Labem-based oil producer Setuza recorded a net profit of CZK 346.7 million last year despite a decline in its revenue from CZK 15 billion to CZK 3.73 billion. The company posted a loss of CZK 1.85 billion in 2007.
Online loans double in 2008
Applications for online loans rose annually by 58% in 2008 to account for 30% of all loans in the Czech Republic. GE Money Bank is the only bank on the Czech market which offers online loans in minutes. Other banks let customers file a loan request online, which they must then sign in person.
Source: LN 17
LBBW Bank stands alone in the red
LBBW Bank was one of the only banks on the Czech market to post a loss in the first half of the year. The loss tallied CZK 374 million, down from the bank’s profit of CZK 52 million last year.
Bankrupt travel agent’s clients return home
All 47 clients of bankrupt travel agent Relax Max Tours who were holidaying in Morocco yesterday returned to the Czech Republic. The costs of the return were met by insurance company Etics ITP, and no trips were cut short. It is estimated that some 90 people who bought holidays Relax Max Tours will lose their flights, but receive compensation.
Source: ČTK, Právo 5
ČEZ to offer natural gas to corporate clients
Electricity producer ČEZ will offer natural gas to its big corporate clients starting from next year, according to the company’s newly launched sales campaign.
Source: HN 13
Media advertising profit down by 2% in H1
Media advertising profits fell by 2.19% year-on-year to CZK 29.6 billion in H1, according to a survey by TNS Media Intelligence. The largest drop of 30% was recorded by cinemas while profits on outdoor advertising fell by 20%. The survey does not cover the internet.