Business News

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In today’s business news: A debate on tax reform has been postponed due to a dispute over flat expense deductions between the prime minister and the finance minister, the bankrupt betting giant Sazka is to be sold in a public tender, grocery chains launch online discount coupons, the Czech Tourism agency announces a campaign targeting gay and lesbian travelers, and an American journal finds that Czech banknotes have some of the world’s highest levels of a potentially dangerous chemical.

Debate on tax reform postponed due to dispute over flat expense deductions

A debate on tax reform was put back two weeks on Wednesday, in part due to a dispute between Prime Minister Petr Nečas and Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek over a proposed reduction in the flat expense deductions of self-employed workers. The prime minister said it was clearly stated in the cabinet’s policy program that the overall tax burden of those who are self-employed would not be raised. Mr. Kalousek argued that the Czech Republic’s policy regarding flat expense deductions is unparalleled in Europe. He added that in this country, claimable deductions far exceed the actual expenses of self-employed persons.

Bankrupt betting giant Sazka to be sold in public tender

The creditors’ committee of the bankrupt lottery company Sazka has agreed to sell the former betting giant in a tender, pending court approval. A new owner could be announced within a month. Each bidder will have to pay a deposit of 500 billion Czech crowns. Bidding is open to firms from all business sectors. Sazka’s bankruptcy trustee Josef Cupka said that a tender was just as transparent as an auction while guaranteeing a swifter sale. He added that, along with achieving the highest possible price, his priorities were that the sale would be completed as quickly and as transparently as possible. Sazka ran into solvency problems mainly due to repayments for a giant sports hall, the O2 Arena, built in Prague in 2004 for the world ice hockey championships.

Czech outlets of grocery chains launch online discount coupons

Czech branches of grocery store chains have started promoting goods via discount websites, which have been enjoying increasing popularity in the last year. The hypermarket chain Globus this week launched a website that offers customers discounts of up to 30 percent on grilling goods. Globus’s spokesman Boris Malý said that the company considered online coupons a useful tool in attracting customers. Another chain, wholesale retailer Makro, has also launched a discount website. There, registered customers can secure discounts of up 50 percent on select goods. Presently, the country’s biggest chain of grocery stores, Tesco, is not considering offering online discount coupons. According to data from the discount website accumulator Skrz.cz, the turnover of such sites this year has reached nearly 1.2. billion Czech crowns.

Czech Tourism campaign to target LGBT tourists

Czech Tourism is preparing a marketing campaign promoting the country as a destination for lesbian and gay tourists. In addition, Czech Tourism also wants to attract young travelers interested in a romantic get-away as well as those looking for a location to get married. The campaign will mostly use print and online media, the head of the agency’s marketing department said. According to Czech Tourism’s director Rostislav Vondruška, gay and lesbian tourists account for ten percent of travelers worldwide. This week, the first gay and lesbian pride festival to be held in the Czech capital, Prague Pride, will also bring homosexual and bisexual tourists to the city.

Czech banknotes among most potentially toxic, study finds

Foto: Barbora Kmentová
A study published in the American journal Environmental Science & Technology has found that paper money from the Czech Republic has some of the highest levels of bisphenol A, or BPA, a potentially toxic substance. Along with the Czech Republic, money from Brazil and Australia was also found to have high levels of BPA, while the lowest levels of the chemical occurred in money from the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The source of BPA is not the actual banknote itself, but rather the thermal-paper cash register receipts that many people keep in their wallets. Several studies have pointed to a link between exposure to BPA and immunity system imbalance. In addition, some studies have shown that contamination with BPA in early childhood can result in serious illness such as cancer and diabetes in adult life.