Monthly Archives: November 2010

Hungary’s private pension shocker

Did we mention that Hungary’s government looks to be intent on nationalizing the country’s private pension funds in order to shore up its accounting? Judging from Bloomberg a couple days ago, this isn’t likely to be the most popular PR move of the year.

Hungary, which received an international bailout two years ago, plans to shift 3 trillion forint ($14 billion) of private pension-fund savings into the state budget to help reduce the deficit and public debt. Credit Agricole Cheuvreux SA said today investors should curb holdings of Hungarian equities. Fitch Ratings said today it may cut the country from BBB, the second- lowest investment grade because of the plan.
“Changes to the pension system have been received very badly and we do not expect there will be an improvement in the sentiment any time soon,” emerging-market strategists led by Shahin Vallee at BNP Parbias SA in London, wrote in a report today. “Euro-forint is approaching 280 and we expect some further upward pressure.”

New CIJ Awards pictures

If you didn’t see yourself yet in the pictures, here’s  a hint…there’s a bunch more pictures available from last week’s awards. Just become friends with CIJ Journal Czech on Facebook!

Fitch wags rating finger at Poland

Even (relatively) high-flying Poland has to play by the fiscal rules, it turns out. The country must carry out a “consolidation” of public finances in order to maintain its A- rating long-term, Fitch Ratings has warned.

The agency said that the general government deficit will increase to 7.9 percent of GDP in 2010, as compared to 7.2 percent in 2009.Fitch points out this is up from 2007, when the deficit was mere 1.9 percent GDP.

Poland’s own plans are to bring down the deficit to 2.9 percent in 2013, one year later than it had originally planned. But according to Fitch, the plans could be hindered by parliamentary elections in the fall of 2011.

Charity drive success

We’ll have some pictures from the CIJ Awards Czech Republic later on, but for now, an update on the successful charity drive for the Children’s Smile foundation. This group is responsible for collecting donations for the Children’s Institute in Krc, Prague 4, home to roughly 100 children up to five years in age. Life doesn’t start easily for these kids, many of whom start life with the hepatitis and withdrawal symptoms passed to them by their mothers.

The financial crisis hasn’t been easy on the Children’s Institute either, as the state has reduced its funding levels to such an extent that it’s unable to afford its electricity and heat bills. This has forced it to reduce its capacity by 20%, so donations of cash are currently being used to pay for these basics of modern life.

During the Awards ceremony on Wednesday, we collected more than CZK 77,000 in cash along with pledges for an additional CZK 14,500. Even better, one anonymous donor after the awards ceremony made a remarkable pledge of CZK 50,000, to bring the current total to more than CZK 142,000.

Many others gave us business cards with promises to make a donation. Anyone who didn’t manage to make a donation is welcome to do so on their own, by visiting the webpages of the foundation, though we would also be more than happy to arrange a donation as well. All funds, it should go without saying, go directly to the account of the foundation, which can upon request provide the necessary documents for tax purposes.  Once again, our thanks for the generosity of the Czech property community in this endeavor.

Panattoni leaps into retail

Warehouse developer Panattoni Europe said today it’s planning to enter the retail property market in Poland. To that end, Panattoni Europe hired Andrzej Lasocki to become retail development director. The scope of operations of the newly opened unit will include investments in facilities dedicated to retail sales.

And the winners are…

In one of the best awards evenings in years, a dozen awards were handed out at the 2010 CIJ Awards Czech Republic. The event is now officially a decade old in Prague, and with all 300 seats sold days in advance, it seems that not even a global economic crisis can stop it. There were lots of high quality projects completed in 2010, and while not all picked up prizes last night, their developers obviously deserve our recognition and congratulations. Someone has to win, however, so here’s the list.

Best Office Development – City West
Best Residential Development – Zelené Město
Best Shopping Center Development – Galerie Harfa
Best Warehouse/Logistics Development – VGP Park Horní Počernice – Hall 3, 6 & K
Best Hotel Development – Red & Blue Design Hotel Prague
Best Overall Development – Spielberk Office Centre
Law Firm of the Year – Wilson & Partners
Property Management Team of the Year – Cushman & Wakefield
Personality of the Year – Remon L. Vos (CTP Invest)
Developer of the Year – Finep
Real Estate Agency of the Year – Cushman & Wakefield

More pictures after the jump …. Continue reading

UniCredit pushing Czech expansion

The banking briefs continue, again from Czechia, as UniCredit says it wants to become a market leader there. That’s good news for landlords looking to lease shop space, as UniCredit plans a big retail banking push, reports Bloomberg:

UniCredit Spa, Italy’s biggest bank, is accelerating its expansion in the Czech Republic, where it is behind rivals including Societe Generale’s Komercni Banka AS.

UniCredit plans to open at least 40 branches in addition to the existing 60 and expand its franchise network to 90 outlets, particularly in smaller cities, Jiri Kunert, the chief executive of the Czech branch, said in an interview in his Prague office yesterday.

Read the whole article here.