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Czech Watch - 28 August 2001

28.8.2001 10:25

- KDU-CSL chairman Cyril Svoboda announced that only members of his party and the Freedom Union would lead the 4K into general elections to be held in June 2002. No space was left in this regard for members the two smaller parties in the coalition, the ODA and the DEU. DEU chairman Majzlik expressed surprise over Svoboda's statement and added that although the KDU-CSL and the Freedom Union were the engines in the Quad-Coalition, the DEU had not given up hope of leading some regions. The ODA's Michael Zantovsky refused to comment on Svoboda's statement, not having read it.

- The Prague City Court will have to deal with a dispute between the Czech Statistical Office (CSU) and the Personal Data Protection Office (UOOU) over the use of certain data from this year's census. The UOOU objected as early as before the census to the fact that the items on the number of people employed and the number of babies born contravened the census law. According to CSU, the UOOU, as an administrative body, has no been entitled to interfere in the CSU's competence and to decide what data statisticians should process. Finally, the UOOU banned the use of the controversial data. The CSU did not include the controversial items in the preliminary census results but decided to file a suit.

- The Euro weekly reports that Konsolidacni banka (KoB) has canceled the contracts signed with Odien for the restructuring of Hutni montaze Ostrava and Skoda Plzen. Odien has been in charge of the revitalization of some companies since the dismantling of the Revitalization Agency (RA). KoB´s CEO Pavel Rezabek told Euro that there were many reasons for the rescinding of the contracts. Odien CEO Michael Saran disagreed and said that his company achieved positive results and that he considered the stance of KoB as fulfillment of some political orders.

- Due to purely technical problems, Siemens is going to sign the contract for the takeover of CKD Dopravni systemy (DS) in early September instead of the end of August as originally planned. The price was set at CZK 750m. DS will be provided with the most recent technologies and will collaborate with Siemens on the latter's latest orders, including the construction of a magnetic rail line in China, or supplies of high-speed trains to Spain. DS should sell products worth an annual EUR 70m in the next five years, excluding revenues accruing from its participation in the “big” Siemens projects. Also, DS's will deliver another 20 five-carriage trains for the Prague subway in addition to the standing order for 22 trains to be completed next year. Siemens plans to invest some CZK 0.5bn in its new acquisition, and DS's activities are to include development, production and sales.

- The Czech crown firmed against the euro on Monday, as the euro dipped against the dollar. Late on the day the crown was up to 34.16/19 to the euro from 34.23/26 late on Friday. The crown/dollar closed flat at 37.56/58.

- The longest state 6.95/16 bond ended flat from Friday's close at 101.79/09, yielding 6.75/71 %. The state 6.75/05 bond finished also flat at 101.44/74, yielding 6.26/16 %. The trading activity was close to the ice point on Monday. Due to a holiday in London, also the interest rate swap market was quite calm in the Czech Republic.

Late on August 27 bond yield Late on August 24
State 6.75/05101.44/746.26/16101.45/75
State 6.95/16101.79/096.75/71101.80/10

(Martin Kupka)

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