In this week’s Business News: forecasts concur on higher growth this year but lower next; steel giants agree peace deal; public finances give out mixed signals; Agrofert arbitration claim suffers setback; and flying the flag for Czech food and drink.
Finance Ministry and central bank boost growth prediction for 2010 but cut hopes for 2011
Pig iron dispute ends with fragile peace deal
A battle between two of the country’s biggest steel concerns has ended with a peace deal between them. The five-month battle came to a head in the summer with Evraz Steel Vítkovice cancelling its order for pig iron deliveries from fellow Ostrava company ArcelorMittal after weeks of haggling over the price of the basic commodity. The two companies have now agreed terms for deliveries to resume, allowing Evraz to restart production of steel slabs, plates and sections from the start of December. But the deal is only valid for the next year with experts warning that the volatile price of steel could lead to a further fallout afterwards.
Windfall income cuts public deficit figure for 2010
Agrofert’s multi-billion arbitration claim against Polish refiner rejected
Czech billionaire Andrej Babiš and his agro-food and chemicals empire Agrofert appears to have lost a 20 billion crown. 1.1 billion US dollar, demand for damages from Polish chemicals giant PKN Orlen. The damages claim is the last and biggest of a series harking back to 2005 and the privatisation of Czech refinery company Unipetrol. Mr. Babiš says the Poles went back on their promise at the time to sell him a series of Unipetrol units in return for his help during the privatisation. But an arbitration court in Prague this week refused his claim. PKN said afterwards it had not even made any provision for losing because it was so confident of its case. Mr. Babiš can still appeal the ruling but his chances look slim.