The Czech-based investment group PPF will acquire 100 percent in Serbia’s
Telenor banka, which is part of the Telenor Group. The deal is part of an
acquisition of Telenor’s telecommunication assets in Central and Eastern
Europe, namely in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia. PPF, owned by
the Czech Republic’s richest man, announced the news on Friday.
The deal still needs to be approved by the National Bank of Serbia and the relevant antimonopoly authorities. With over 390,000 clients, Telenor ranks among the second ten largest banks on the Serbian market.
The Czech Republic has achieved another victory in its international
arbitration battle with the blood product company Diag Human, the Ministry
of Health announced in a press release on Friday.
The Dutch Supreme Court has dismissed a complaint from the company over alleged damages amounting to around 13 billion crowns (approximately 500 million euros).
Diag Human has been conducting a drawn out series of legal actions against the Czech Republic over a blood plasma deal it sealed with the state in the early 1990s. It was already awarded 327 million crowns in 1997.
Plans to cut housing benefits for the socially disadvantaged are in the spotlight ahead of a special debate scheduled for the lower house on Thursday. The ANO government say the move will curb landlords exploiting the poverty of others – but members of the opposition warn that it could undermine the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. I discussed the issue with Kumar Vishwanathan, a community worker in North Moravia.
The opposition Christian Democrats plan to call on the government to drop a
plan to reduce housing benefits for those on social welfare during a lower
house session on Thursday. The party have been joined in their petition by
the Pirates, TOP 09 and the Mayors and Independents.
The Christian Democrats’ Jan Čižinský said the Ministry of Labour proposal was targeted at the poorest in Czech society. He said cutting such benefits would lead to people being forced to leave their apartments and live in shelters.
The Social Democrats, who seem headed for a coalition with the Ministry of Health-helming ANO, say they are against such a debate but still have objections to the proposal.
The Czech National Bank will introduce stricter rules for the provision of
mortgage loans in October. Under the change, mortgage holders should not be
allowed to spend more than 45 percent of their monthly income on
The central bank’s restrictions are not legally binding but are generally followed by banks.
Tuesday’s announcement comes against a backdrop of growing concerns that a shock to the economy could lead to widespread defaults on mortgages.
Property prices in the Czech Republic grew by an average of 16 percent
through most of 2017, the highest rate in the whole of the European Union.
The figure stems from a Financial Stability Report issued by the Czech
National Bank on Tuesday.
The central bank said that Czech apartments were overvalued by around 14 percent at the end of last year and warned that the figure was rising.
Officials said the conditions for a spiraling of the difference between property prices and the cost of loans remained in place. The Czech National Bank has identified this as the greatest risk to domestic financial stability since 2016.
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