In Business News This Week: Brussels seeking return of 810 million crowns handed out to Czech farmers; Economic growth in 3Q 2015 better than previously thought; Ministers meet over future of OKD mining company; Czech trade mission headed by minister flies to Tehran; Fischer boosts tourists, turnover, and profits.
The European Commission is seeking the return of CZK 810 million from the Czech Republic due to oversights in the allocation of subsidies between 2010 and 2013, the minister of agriculture, Marian Jurečka, said on Tuesday. The money has already been paid out to Czech farmers and they would not be required to send it back, the minister said. EU auditors said that Czech inspectors had failed to check whether farmers had up-to-date livestock registers and had carried out other procedures.
The Czech economy grew more quickly in the third quarter of last year than a previous estimate had suggested. Gross domestic product expanded by 4.7 percent not 4.5 percent between the start of July and the end of September, according to revised figures released on Tuesday. Only five other OECD members saw faster growth in the third quarter of 2015.
Government ministers met Thursday with managers of the struggling mining company OKD. Minister of Industry and Trade, Jan Mládek, said after the meeting that it had been agreed that any fundamental steps agreed by company management would have to be approved as well by the company’s creditors. He added that ongoing negotiations would focus on a possible restructuring plan for the company and the sale of the Frenstat mine to the state. Coal at that mine has not been exploited yet. The future of the OKD mines are threatened by low coking coal prices with around 13,000 immediate jobs at stake.
Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek flies out to Tehran Friday accompanied by a 60-strong business delegation to Iran. The minister starts a four day working visit which includes the opening of a Czech Trade office in the Iranian capital. Iran is the target for many worldwide trade delegations with numerous export opportunities as the decades of business isolation and embargoes appear to be coming to an end.
Czech tour operator Fischer last year achieved a record turnover of around 4.0 billion crowns, around a fifth higher than in 2014. The final profit rose to 145 million crowns with the number of clients climbing to 300,000 from 266,000. The tour operator said that it has increased its offer of winter and summer destinations.