A World Bank report comparing the environment for business in countries across the globe has criticised the Czech Republic on a number of points, including the lengthy processes involved in setting up and winding down businesses. The World Bank's Simeon Djankov told a Prague news conference upon release of the report that while it takes it takes on average 25 days to establish a business in an OECD member states, it takes some 88 days in the Czech Republic, while even simple bankruptcies can take years to process.
The Czech Republic can expect to receive foreign direct investment (FDI) to the tune $5 billion dollars this year, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). FDI is picking up again in 2004 as the European Union recovers from stagnant growth and could reach $6.6 billion dollars next year. The Czech Republic had the highest per-capita FDI stock in the region in 2003, with an estimated $ 4,100 per head, compared with $3,730 in Hungary and $1,360 in Poland, says the EIU report. The Netherlands remains the largest foreign investor overall in the Czech Republic, with 28 per cent of total FDI stock at the end of 2003.
ING has launched one of the biggest investment funds devoted solely to central European property in order to take advantage of the rise in real estate prices expected to follow European Union enlargement, The Financial Times reports. The Dutch bancassurance group's 600 million euro closed-end fund will invest in office and retail property in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, with a target net internal rate of return of 13.5 per cent over 12 years. The initial portfolio of the fund comprises several existing ING retail developments, including the Zlaty Andel shopping centre and Tanecni Dum, the so-called Dancing Building in Prague.
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