The Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, leaders of the other two government coalition parties, Ministers for Industry and Trade, Labour and Social Affairs, and Justice met on Wednesday to discuss the situation surrounding the hard coal mining company OKD. The mining company, which employs around 12,000, on Tuesday filed for insolvency with debts of around 17 billion crowns. Sobotka said later the government wants to stabilize the situation around OKD and ensure operations can continue. One of the main issues now being focused on is who the court will name as insolvency manager. This could have a major influence on how the company is managed in the interim before its final fate is resolved. Minister of Justice Robert Pelikán told Czech Television on Tuesday that the government wanted some say in the naming of the insolvency manager.
The mining company OKD has filed for bankruptcy, a spokesperson announced after a board meeting on Tuesday. The Czech government had rejected appeals from the firm – which employs around 10,000 people – for financial support to help it close lossmaking mines and restructure its business. OKD’s mines in North Moravia are set to keep running. CEO Dale Ekmark said the company lacked the funds to carry on and blamed the situation on historically low coal prices.
Miners at the Darkov mine in North Moravia held an underground protest on Tuesday when they refused to come to the surface following their night shift. The men said they were demanding to know the plans of mine owners OKD, which is threatened with insolvency. The miners emerged after an underground meeting with an OKD executive that the company described as a “working briefing”. The firm has around 10,000 workers in a region with relatively high unemployment.
The Czech government will not aid the ailing coal mining company OKD, but will focus on helping miners who are to be laid off, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Friday following talks with trade unions and employers. Friday was the deadline for a possible deal with the government which would allow the OKD mines to remain in operation. Bankruptcy procedures are now likely to start within days. The company has close to 10,000 stem employees and thousands of other jobs in the region are dependent on it.
The Ad Hoc Group, which controls New World Resources, is considering a declaration of insolvency of the hard coal mining company OKD as early as this Friday unless the government steps in to help. A meeting between both sides was scheduled this Monday. Ad Hoc Group took control of NWR in February but on Monday said it would not continue to waive a deadline for seeking debt repayments from the ailing mining firm. On Sunday, the Ad Hoc Group reportedly offered to sell OKD for less than 150 million euros, the equivalent of less than four billion crowns. Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mládek said the real value of the company was far less and he couldn’t imagine why the government would buy at such a price. OKD currently employs almost 10,000 people, and also provides additional jobs in the sector for suppliers and various other companies.
Czech industry is currently lacking at least 70,000 workers and thousands of university educated experts, such as chemists and mechanical engineers, a new analysis by the Czech Exporters’ Association suggests. According to the analysis, there are currently more than 117,000 vacancies on the Czech jobs market. The Exporters’ Association has called on the Czech government to loosen its visa policy to simplify attracting foreign workforce from countries such as Ukraine, Vietnam, and Russia to the Czech Republic.
Czech export of hops have dropped by 10 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year, to total 3,668 tonnes of hops. According to the Hop Growers Association, the slump in profits amounted to over 250 million crowns. Last year’s crops were damaged by unexpectedly high temperatures and drought. Dry weather also caused hops to have a lower concentration of alfa acids, which are responsible for the bitter flavour in beer. Most of the hop exports went to non-EU markets, mainly to Asia.
The country’s biggest car maker Škoda Auto has announced its best ever February for worldwide sales. The manufacturer racked up total sales of 78,800 over the month, 3.6 percent more than in 2015. Sales in Western Europe and China were particularly strong. Škoda was also helped by the launch of new models of the top of the range Superb and down range Fabia.