In Business News this week: Czech National Bank makes second highest monthly forex intervention in August; Two ČEZ managers accused of licensing fraud; Grandi Stazioni loses lease of Main Railway Station in Prague; Transport of crude oil reserves from Germany may be at risk; Škoda Auto to extend working week in Kvasiny:
The Czech National Bank announced Friday the volume of its foreign currency interventions in August aimed at sustaining its low crown policy. The bank said it spent 28.6 billion crowns buying euros. That’s the second biggest monthly total for intervention this year, exceeded only by the 58.2 billion crown total for January. The bank is aiming to keep the crown at a rate of 27 crowns to the euro or lower under a policy started in November 2013. The rate of intervention is a sign of what sort of upward pressures on the crown the bank is forced to resist.
The Czech trade balance in August recorded a surplus of 13.8 billion crowns (around 511 million euros). That compares with a deficit of 1.7 billion in the same month a year earlier. The biggest factors in the turnaround were higher exports of machinery and cars and lower spending on imported oil and other fuels. The trade surplus with other EU countries reached 47.9 billion crowns. The surplus so far this year runs to 146.6 billion crowns, a 55 billion crown advance on the first eight months of 2015.
Two managers of the power giant ČEZ have been charged with fraud over the licencing of a solar power plant in Čekanice, South Bohemia. The accused allegedly gave the plant final building approval although it was far from completed so that the owner could get a higher purchase price for electricity. ČEZ has refrained from commenting on the case. Police are investigating similar cases of fraud in connection with dozens of other solar power plants around the country.
Grandi Stazioni has lost its 30-year lease of the Main Railway Station in Prague, where it was supposed to complete a general reconstruction by October 2016. The original deadline, in 2013, was repeatedly extended and Czech Railway Infrastructure Administration has rejected a request for another two-year extension. It has officially requested that Grandi Stazioni vacate the premises.
The Czech company FAU which was to guarantee the transport of Czech oil reserves from Germany is deep in debt and may face insolvency proceedings, Czech Radio reported on Thursday. According to the company’s lawyer, Alfred Šrámek, the start of bankruptcy proceedings would put the operation at risk. FAU was to transport over 80 million liters of crude oil from the storage facility of the bankrupt Viktoriagruppe company in Germany’s Krailling, a process expected to take between six and eight months. The transfer was delayed by a drawn out dispute between the Czech State Material Reserves Administration and Viktoriagruppe's insolvency administrator Mirko Mollen over the ownership of the crude oil. The Czech Republic was later given the go ahead to proceed with the transport.
Škoda Auto’s plant in Kvasiny in east Bohemia plans to extend its working week from five to six days due to growing demand for models produced in the facility, starting in January 2017, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Wednesday. The plant in Kvasiny manufactures Škoda Superb, Yeti and Seat Ateca and is preparing production of the new SUV Kodiaq. Due to the high demand, Škoda Auto will also supply the European market with cars produced in its plant in Russia.
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