Politicians in Brno have reacted with surprise to Amazon’s decision to drop plans to build a new distribution centre in the city. Deputy mayor Oliver Pospíšil, who on Tuesday had been insisting Amazon were still interested in investing in the project, said he had received no indications that the internet retailer was going to give up on the city. Mayor Roman Onderka said he would await an official letter from the company regarding its plans. Green Party representatives welcomed the news; they said the distribution centre would have caused congestion nearby, making life unpleasant for locals.
The US online retailer Amazon has dropped plans to build a large distribution centre outside Brno. The firm’s head of European operations, Tim Collins, told Czech TV on Wednesday the firm did not feel welcome in Brno whose councillors repeatedly voted against the project due to issues with the city’s zoning plan. Amazon was going to invest 2.7 billion crowns in the location, creating around 1,500 jobs. The firm is continuing with plans to build another distribution centre outside Prague. I spoke to Radek Špicar, vice president of the Czech Confederation
The internet retail giant Amazon has for now dropped plans to build a new distribution centre in the Czech Republic’s second city Brno. Amazon’s director of European operations Tim Collins told Czech journalists on Wednesday that the company was now considering other locations in central Europe. Councillors in Brno voted three times to reject an Amazon plan for a CZK 2.7 billion distribution centre in a local industrial zone; one argument against was that the Moravian capital’s current territorial plan did not allow for such a construction. The centre would have created 1,500 jobs.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has urged Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, who has repeatedly come under fire for conflict of interests, to give up his business activities and concentrate solely on politics. Mr. Sobotka made the statement just hours after CDU MEP and member of the European Parliament's budget control committee, Ingeborg Grassle, brought up the subject at a press conference in Prague saying that Mr. Babiš as finance minister represented such a danger of conflicts of interests that in her opinion cooperation with Prague would be difficult. Mr. Babiš, whose firms have received 2.6 million euros from European funds, said he fully adhered to the conflict of interests law and was not actively involved in running a business but merely owned the Agrofert company.
In recent years, the Czech Republic has seen Russia as an increasingly important economic partner. Czech exports to Russia have grown tenfold over the past decade, and about 70 percent of Czech oil and gas imports come from that country. But the ongoing crisis in Crimea has highlighted the risks of the Czech economy’s exposure to Russia. In this edition of Panorama, I discuss the implications of the Crimea crisis for the Czech-Russian relations with deputy foreign minister Petr Drulák and commentator Erik Best. I first asked Mr Drulák to sum up
Porcelain is one of the country’s traditional export articles and the famous Bohemia blue-onion tableware, produced in Dubí ever since 1885 has found its way to 90 countries the world over. Like most Czech producers the Czech porcelain joint stock company in Dubí felt the crunch of the global economic crisis, hitting a low point in 2010, but now it appears to be over the worst and is once again showing a healthy profit.
The US online retailer Amazon still believes it will be able to build a large distribution centre in a location outside Brno, the developer CTP Invest, which works with the firm, said in a press release on Wednesday. The company remains hopeful despite the fact that the plans have been rejected by Brno City Hall over zoning issues. The developer said it hoped Brno municipal assembly would next month vote to change the zoning limits, allowing for the plan to go ahead. The firm also said it was not considering an alternative location, offered by the South Moravian Region. Amazon is planning to invest some 2.7 billion crowns in Brno, creating around 1,500 jobs. Another Amazon distribution centre is to be built in Dobrovíz outside Prague.
The Ministry of Finance’s special financial analytical team has prepared criminal charges against the two top figures in state controlled electricity producer ČEZ. Cases have been prepared against general manager Daniel Beneš and his deputy, Martin Novák, the ministry confirmed. The cases relate to the buyout of minority shareholders in the North Moravian regional electricity distribution company. The suspicion is that around 350 million crowns of ČEZ funds was misused in the out of court settlement with the small shareholders, some of whom were represented by the company Associated Energy. ČEZ says the settlement was approved by the board and the deal probably saved it around 700 million crowns.
Councilors of the south Moravian region on Thursday approved a sales offer of land to the company Amazon which is seeking to locate several warehouses in the country. Details of the offer have not been released. Regional governor Michal Hašek said the local authorities were ready to enter into negotiations with both Amazon and the agency CzechInvest in view of securing the lucrative investment deal. The offer comes just hours after the city of Brno definitively rejected Amazon’s offer of a three-billion crown investment project which would have secured around 1,500 new jobs. The prime minister said he was very disappointed by Brno’s decision.
A recent expansion of the Dutch company Ahold in the Czech Republic reflects the country’s changing retail market. Ahold, which bought 50 stores from the loss-making Austrian firm Spar, is now set to become market leader, a new situation for the fragmented Czech market. But analysts say more changes are in the pipeline, including customers’ move away from supermarkets to smaller speciality stores.
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