Business briefs


EU ministers approve Czech deficit reduction plan

European Union finance ministers have approved an updated version of the Czech government's macroeconomic program. The government plans on brining the Czech public finance deficit down to below 3 percent of GDP in the next three years, allowing the country to adopt the euro by 2010.

Oskar Mobil gets first short at third UMTS license

The Czech Telecoms Office has declared a tender for a third UMTS license. The Canadian-owned mobile operator Oskar Mobil will have first crack at the license, which is going for 2 billion crowns. Oskar has until Feb.4 to express interest; otherwise the UMTS license will be auctioned off.

Prague bourse accepts Orco Property Group foreign shares listing

The Prague Stock Exchange (BCPP) listing committee has accepted the Luxembourg-based real estate company Orco Property Group as the second foreign share issue to trade on the bourse. Austria's Erste Bank was the first foreign share on the Prague bourse. Orco has also requested the listing of a 5.5 percent convertible bond due in 2011.

Labour Ministry decides on subcontractor provisions

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has agreed to change a legal provision that prohibits the hiring of self-employed specialists as subcontractors; however, it will still be illegal to hire independent contractors for back-to-back terms (in order to avoid hiring them as employees).

Czech exporters show preference for euros

Czech exporters are increasingly using the common European currency to pay for domestic payments, in order to avoid the risk of currency fluctuations. Exporters on average now receive two-thirds of their payments in euros, the Hospodarske Noviny daily reports.

Czech shoemakers losing out to Chinese imports

Chinese-made footwear now makes up three-quarters of the Czech shoe market, the president of the Association of Czech Shoemakers, Petr Kubat told Czech Radio this week. Domestic shoe production has dropped from 71 million pairs in 1990 to 5 million pairs last year, he said. Czech shoemakers can't compete on price with the Chinese imports, he said.