Black coal imports in the Czech Republic have been on gradual increase in
recent years, last year growing by one quarter to 5.6 billion crowns,
according to data from the Czech Statistical Office. The main importer was
Poland (around 4 billion crowns), followed by Russia (992 million). Except
for a drop in 2009, black coal imports to the Czech Republic have grown
steadily. According to experts, coal imports are important for the
functioning of the Czech market and price formation. They are not
however, to dominate over domestic production in the future, experts say.
Regarding brown coal, domestic mining companies expect a considerable fall in output in the coming years, mainly due to the mining limits. Coal prices for heating plants and other customers are therefore expected to go up.
Last year the number of Czech companies fleeing to tax havens was the lowest for five years according to figures released by the CEKIA financial information company on Wednesday. The number of Czech companies setting up in such havens for the first time rose by 281 to total 11,424. That is an increase of 2.5 percent on the previous year. Many Czech companies relocate to the Dutch Antilles, Cyprus and Luxembourg because of the tax advantages. Favourite locations last year were Monaco and the Seychelles. The Czech government is on the verge of signing two agreements with the British tax havens Guernsey and the Isle of Man to get access to details of Czechs squirreling assets there. The Ministry of Finance says another three agreements are in the pipeline.
Private hospitals have expressed an interest in taking over regional hospitals that would be forced to reduce healthcare services or even close if 3,800 doctors unsatisfied with wages make good on their threat to leave as of March 1. The health minister is continuing to negotiate with doctors’ representatives to avoid such a scenario but no breakthrough has been reached yet. There are 70 private hospitals in the Czech Republic that manage 15 percent of the country’s hospital beds; they also provide care in most medical branches. The Agel chain of medical facilities is one to have expressed an interest in taking over in areas. On Sunday, the governor for central Bohemia, David Rath, said no state-run hospital was for sale in his region but admitted privatisation – sparked by mass departures – could take place in other areas.
Managers of debt-ridden lottery giant Sazka have started talks with creditors about the possibility of asking the court for a moratorium which would avert the threat of insolvency for three months, daily Hospodarske noviny said Friday. People on the management of the Czech Sports Association, which is Sazka's biggest shareholder, are allegedly beginning to accept the fact that an investor who would be willing to pour 2 to 3 billion crowns into the ailing company would become a shareholder. The sports association had thus far rejected such a possibility, wanting to keep an absolute majority in the company. In recent years the company generated a debt of around 10 billion crowns, mainly related to the 2004 construction of Prague’s O2 Arena.
The biggest national betting and lottery firm and paymaster for Czech sport, Sazka, is fighting for its survival. On Monday, one of Sazka’s creditors filed for insolvency proceedings against the firm, claiming the betting giant is no longer able to pay its debts. Sazka’s management fiercely repudiates the demand but the firm is looking hard to steer its own way out of trouble.
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