Business News round-up: Česká Spořitelna sees net profit drop in 2015; Škoda Auto has 60 percent brand loyalty says board chairman; Close to 100 Czech construction projects at risk; Conference marks opening of branch of European Investment Bank in Prague.
One of the Czech Republic’s biggest banks, Česká Spořitelna announced a drop in net profits for 2015 of 5.2 percent to 14.3 billion crowns. High provisions for bad loans and low interest rates eroded profits, the bank said. Most of the other big banks on the Czech market have already announced much better results. Česká Spořitelna is regarded as the biggest Czech bank according to the volume of client deposits.
The ombudswoman, Anna Šabatová, has asked the Constitutional Court to overturn a government decree setting a lower minimum wage for people on disability benefits. At present the minimum monthly wage for the disabled is 9,300 crowns, 600 crowns less than for able-bodied employees. Ms. Šabatová described the state’s approach as pure discrimination. She called on labour inspectors not to wait for the verdict of the Constitutional Court but to immediately force employers to create equal conditions for all employees.
Škoda Auto has more brand loyalty from owners than fellow Volkswagen company Porsche, company board chairman Bernhard Maier said on Thursday. Maier, who joined that biggest Czech car maker in Autumn last year, said that 60 percent of Škoda Auto owners bought the car again compared with 58 percent of Porsche owners. Maier said Škoda will develop more SUV and eco models over the next decade. He confirmed that the first hybrid car to be rolled out will be the top of the model Superb.
A total of 98 transport construction projects in the Czech Republic worth 130 billion crowns in total face problems in drawing EU subsidies, according to the governor of South Moravia Michal Hašek. Previously officials said 64 construction projects worth 90 billion were endangered. The EU requires new Environmental Impact Assessment studies (EIA) for these projects, which will delay their construction and the drawing of EU subsidies. The Czech Republic is negotiating a special regime for the projects in question with the European Commission. In case the talks fail, Hašek has proposed an alternative solution in drawing subsidies for regional rail and road projects for which EIA is not required.
An international conference is being held in Prague on Monday in connection with the opening of a branch of the European Investment Bank in the city. Among those due to attend are the bank’s president, Werner Hoyer, the Czech Republic’s European commissioner, Věra Jourová, Czech finance minister, Andrej Babiš, and Miroslav Singer, the governor of the Czech National Bank. The new branch will provide information to public institutions and companies on opportunities to finance projects using funding from the EIB and the European Fund for Strategic Investments.