Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka this week presented a plan to the government coalition partners that would seek to reduce the budget deficit next year to 87 billion crowns. However, with a no-confidence on the Social Democrat-led government of Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla looming following the party's dismal fifth-place showing in the elections to the European Parliament held earlier in June, chances that the proposed 2005 budget will pass in its current form are thought to be very slim.
The long-awaited first Czech initial public offering, or IPO, looks set to be a major success. The share price of the pharmaceutical company Zentiva rose to the equivalent of 507 crowns, from 485 crowns, and were five times oversubscribed ahead of the first day of trading in London as GDRs, global depository receipts. Trading in Zentiva on the Prague Stock Exchange is set to begin on Monday. The initial public offering, the first on the sluggish Czech bourse in over a decade, values Zentiva at some $700 million dollars.
The state is doing a poor job of overseeing the gambling industry, which is worth an estimated 10 billion crowns, the business daily Hospodarske noviny reports. Although casinos are required by the gaming law to donate a portion of their profits to charity, some are sending proceeds to private foundations under their control, and tax evasion is believed to be rampant. The Finance Ministry is looking to impose tougher controls on the industry.
DHL Information Services was named "Investor of the Year" by CzechInvest, the state agency charged with attracting foreign investment, along with the Ministry of Industry of Trade and the Association for Foreign Investment. DHL relocated its European headquarters to Prague last year, investing over 180 million euros in the project and creating nearly 870 new jobs. ExxonMobil Business Support placed second in the biggest economic contribution category and Daikin Industries placed third.
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