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.
The South Moravian region will make a new offer to the US-based online retailer Amazon, the region’s governor, Michal Hašek told a news conference in Brno on Wednesday. The announcement comes a day after Brno’s municipal assembly rejected Amazon’s plan to build a distribution centre outside the city. Mr Hašek, of the Social Democrats, did not mention a specific location but said if accepted by the retailer, the project would be approved by regional authorities. The state CzechInvest agency also said it would offer the company alternative locations. Amazon’s planned 2.7 billion crown investment in Brno was rejected over problems with altering the city’s zoning plans. A similar distribution centre for Amazon will be built outside Prague.
Plans for US-based e-commerce giant Amazon to build a second distribution centre on the outskirts of the Czech Republic’s second city, Brno, appear to have been thwarted. Other Czech sites are also being offered while Slovakia is also trying to land the investment and the estimated 2000 jobs going with it.
Fragile Czech growth could be wiped out if the Ukraine crisis take a worse turn and sterner sanctions are imposed by the European Union, including the Czech Republic, and Russia retaliates. Exports of Czech machinery and engineering equipment could be threatened and Russian tourists could head elsewhere.
The authorities in Central Bohemia on Wednesday rejected two appeals against a building permit issued to a contractor working for the US-based online retailer Amazon, paving the way for the construction of Amazon’s distribution centre in Dobrovíz, outside Prague. However, construction will only begin after a contract is signed between the municipality and the developer, a representative of the firm said, adding it was impossible to predict whether the deal would be concluded until the end of the month. Amazon is planning to build another distribution centre outside Brno, a project which also provoked opposition from local inhabitants.
The number of self-employed people decreased by 17,000 to 977,000 last year, according to figures by the Czech Social Security Administration. In 2012, the number of entrepreneurs dropped by 8,000. The highest numbers of self-employed people were registered in Prague with 167,000, followed by the Central Bohemia and Moravia-Silesia regions. Self-employed people and small companies with up to nice employees account for 95 percent of all Czech firms and employ over a third of the country’s total workforce, the Czech News Agency reported.
Four central European countries have made a renewed effort to secure imports of natural gas from the United States. Amidst the ongoing Crimea crisis, the Visegrad Group states have appealed to US lawmakers to ease natural gas exports to the region as a way of diminishing its dependence on Russian gas.
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