The miner Sokolovská uhelná invested around Kč 50 mln with brokerage Key Investments, but upon closing its account it received just Kč 4.9 million. Key Investments bought bonds in Spolchemie with the miner’s cash; the same bonds are in the portfolios of several Prague districts. Sokolovská uhelná claims the Czech National Bank (ČNB) has failed its legal duty by not properly investigating the dubious brokerage.
Russia’s biggest lender, Sberbank has reached an agreement to buy Volksbank International, the Easter European division of Austrian concern Oesterreichische Volksbanken-AG, which as of the end of 2010 had 547 sales outlets in 8 CEE countries, including the Czech Republic. The price of the transaction was not revealed, but recent press reports speculated that it was € 700 million for a 51 percent stake.
The Czech parliament passed a new media law on Wednesday that includes a call to ban advertising on the two main Czech public TV channels. The new legislation, which would come into effect on November 11 if approved by the Senate and signed into law by President Václav Klaus, would boost the share of the two nationwide commercial channels to an estimated 95 percent of the TV advertising market.
Czech banking group Home Credit B.V., which has operations in Europe and former Soviet Union, is mulling an initial public offering (IPO) in September to raise around $1 billion, several banking sources told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday.
On the surface of it, Prague 13 district mayor David Vodrážka can be proud as a peacock that unlike his counterparts from Prague 6 (Marie Kousalíková) and Prague 10 (Milan Richter) he no longer has to lose any sleep over recovering council money entrusted to the troubled brokerage Key Investments. But his nightmare should not be over. In fact, the FinMin’s special auditing arm, the FAÚ, should step in.
The country’s financial regulator, the Czech National Bank (ČNB), has put the spotlight on financial institutions’ insufficient steps to take account and deal with the risks of information systems and IT failures in its report on 2010. The risks are even greater given the trend to outsource data and other activities, it says.
Analysts from Czech bank Komerční banka predict the Prague Stock Exchange’s (BCPP) main PX index will climb by 6 percent by the end of the year and by 9 percent over the next 12 months. Broadcaster CME, cigarette producer Philip Morris and synthetic fibers maker Pegas Nonwovens are forecast to be among the star shares.
The Q1 gross domestic product GDP adjusted for price, seasonal and calendar effects increased 2.8 percent year-on-year, according to revised figures from the ČSÚ. Compared to the previous quarter, it rose 0.9 percent. Both figures are 0.3 percentage points higher than preliminary estimates released in May.
Josef Šťáva, the former owner of Diag Human, gave a lengthy interview to the Czech media about his near 20 year battle with the state over a failed blood plasma joint venture. In this edited version, he describes how he was publicly pilloried while in private politicians tried to do a deal. He says he only sold Diag Human when he realized that the Czech state would rather settle with someone else.
The Czech Republic leads Europe in another dubious area: most pending and completed arbitration procedures between investors and the state, based on UN statistics from 1987 to 2010. The Czech Republic has 18 disputes, which is also enough to put the country in third place worldwide, following Argentina, with a whopping 51 disputes and Mexico with 19.