Business briefs


Slovakia must pay 19.4bn crowns to CSOB

The Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) this week ordered Slovakia to pay the Ceskoslovenska obchodni banka (CSOB) bank 24.7 billion Slovak crowns (19.4 billion Czech crowns). The arbitration centred on a loan that CSOB provided to the Slovak state-run Slovenska inkasni s.r.o., a subsidiary of the Slovak Finance Ministry, in 1993. The loan was destined for the buy-out of bad credits provided under the previous regime. Slovenska inkasni repaid 1.5 billion crowns and then stopped paying. The money must be paid within 30 days.

CEZ board members charged with circumventing public tender law

A state attorney has charged four men from the former management of the major power producer CEZ with the breach of compulsory rules of business transactions, Prague City State Attorney's Office spokesman Martin Omelka told the state news agency. Apart from former CEZ manager Jaroslav Mil, police suspect former Temelin nuclear power plant CEO Frantisek Hezoucky and two other CEZ board members of circumventing the law on placing public tenders.

Regional authorities to get more in tax revenues as of 2006

As of next year, regional authorities will receive 27 billion crowns more from tax revenues in line with the law on budget assignment of taxes signed by President Vaclav Klaus this week, the President's spokesman Petr Hajek told the state news agency. Money for financing secondary schools, however, will continue to be administered by the government. In line with the law, regions will see their share of the tax revenues increased to 8.92 percent from the current 3.1 percent as of next year, but they will not receive an extra 28 billion crowns for secondary-school teachers' pay.

Vitkovice Steel privatisation schedule to be set in January

A ministerial commission for the privatisation of giant Czech steelworks Vitkovice Steel will declare a two-round tender to sell 99 percent of the company on Jan. 6. At that meeting, the commission is also due to approve the privatisation schedule. The Cabinet approved the privatisation method in mid-November. In the first round of the tender, investors will have to meet set conditions. The commission is looking for a business plan that would ensure viability and minimum employment until 2008. The main criterion in the second round of the tender will be the price.

Internet growth in Czech Rep 'fourth fastest' in the world

The Czech Republic showed the fourth sharpest growth in the number of high-speed Internet connections in the world in the third quarter of the year, statistics from Britain's Point-Topic have shown. The Czech growth reached 45 percent. Thailand was the leader with a 95 percent growth, ahead of Hungary with almost 70 percent and Poland with 60 percent.