In this week’s Business News: major Prague development gets final clearance; PPF aims high with skyscraper investment; troubled waters seen for Karlovarské Minerální Vody; calls goes out to hash growers; and finance minister invests in infertility business.
Smíchov City gets go ahead from Prague city council
Smíchov, photo: Miloš Turek
Czech development company Sekyra has been final given clearance by Prague authorities to construct a whole new area of the city next door to the city’s Smíchov rail station. The development on 26 hectares will includes flats, offices, and shops. A new transport hub will also be developed at the rail station with bus services moved there. Czech Railways sold land for the development in 2006 but haggling over the final shape of the project has taken only now been resolved. The first buildings on the so-called Smíchov City should be completed within two years.
PPF buys Prague landmark and eyes West Europe property
Pankrác, photo: sandwort, CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported
Staying with Prague, the PPF Group has sealed a deal to buy the city’s biggest skyscraper, the 27-floor City Tower in Pankrác. No figures for the transaction were released. PPF, the main business vehicle for the richest Czech Petr Kellner, announced with its annual results this week the ambition to buy up more real estate in Western Europe, particularly in the Netherlands. Group profit for 2013 slipped by 277 million crowns to 450 million crowns.
Challengers seen for Czech mineral water giant KMV
Photo: Kristýna Maková
The country’s dominant mineral water producer Karlovarské Minerální Vody is facing a battle for the Czech market according to the daily Mladá fronta Dnes. The paper says investors are being courted by West Bohemian based rival Karlovarská Korunní with the target of building it up into a real competitor for the bottled water market. Karlovarské Minerální Vody is the clear leader on the market now with brands such as Mattoni and Magnesia.
Cannabis cultivators being sought by state drugs office
Photo: Tomáš Adamec, ČRo
A call has gone out from the State Institute for Drug Control for the first Czech supplier of medicinal cannabis to come forward. Tenders have been invited to supply 40 kilogrammes of the dried product with the annual contact estimated to be worth around 4.2 million crowns. The winner of the two-round tender should be ready to start deliveries within four to seven months. Medical cannabis or marijuana was legalized in the Czech Republic in 2013 but many would be users say they have hit problems getting supplies.
Finance minister invests in infertility business
Czech finance minister Andrej Babiš has branched out into the business of artificial insemination and treatment of reproductive problems. Through his joint ownership of an investment fund, Babiš has bought into the country’s biggest reproductive clinic in Brno, Reprofit, which carries out around 3,000 operations annually and claims success rates well above the European average. Another infertility treatment clinic in Prague has also been snapped up by the fund for an undisclosed price.