Local Press DigestCzech Republic
PRAGUE, May 2, 2000 (Rtr)
The cabinet has begun an intensive search for a strategic partner for Nova Hut , which is on the verge of bankruptcy, the paper said.
The new partner should take a stake next year, said Prime Minister Milos Zeman. The government wants to find a partner for Nova Hut, and possibly for Vitkovice and other companies, within so-called offset programs in relation to a Czech military order for jet fighters.
The crown fell to weaker than Kc 40 to the dollar during trading on Friday. Some analysts warned that it could fall to as low as 41.50 to the dollar.
According to the Finance Ministry forecasts, public budgets should have a deficit this year of Kc 123 billion. GDP growth this year should be 1.5 percent. Average inflation should be four percent. Unemployment should be 10.3 percent. The foreign-trade deficit should be 87 billion crowns.
Aliachem and Hungarian Borsodchem have set up a joint venture called BC-MCHZ s.r.o. with a basic capital of 860 million crowns. Borsodchem has a 97.5-percent stake.
Komercni Banka posted a net loss in the first quarter of this year of Kc 611 million, compared to a loss of Kc 2.3 billion in the first quarter of 1999.
Investicni a Postovni Banka had net profit of Kc 282 million in the first quarter of this year, compared to 364.6 million during the same period last year.
GE Capital Bank had net profit last year of 982 million crowns, according to Czech accounting standards.
MLADA FRONTA DNES
Some 350 anarchists were arrested in a May Day celebrations in Prague when the police tried to break up an unpermitted demonstration by left-wing radicals.
Ceska Sporitelna and Ceskoslovenska Obchodni Banka posted profit in the first quarter of this year. According to Czech standards, Sporitelna had profit of 410 million crowns, compared to a loss last year of 615 million. CSOB had net profit of Kc 622.26 million, 134.87 million less than last year.
The two largest shareholders of indebted tractor manufacturer Zetor - state-owned Konsolidacni Banka and Motokov - cannot agree on a method to revive the company.
On May 1, a new law on public support took effect, which prohibits government bodies (the cabinet, the National Property Fund, the Czech National Bank, etc.) from helping certain companies with taxpayers money. This law is in harmony with EU regulations.
Prime Minister Milos Zeman said that the most important priority for next year's budget is an increase in spending on education.
The volume of bank loans at the end of March this year was 6.2 percent, or Kc 69.5 billion, lower year-on-year, the largest decrease ever recorded in the Czech Republic.
The labor union in Nova Hut , the largest Czech steel company, filed suit against Prime Minister Milos Zeman due to his recent statements. Representatives of employees of the company do not like the fact that Zeman said they were collaborating with the management, which allegedly sat and watched while the company was stripped of its assets.
Labor and Social Affairs Minister Vladimir Spidla supported the establishment of a regional tripartite in Ostrava on Saturday.