Final Word from Monday, December 3, 2018

At a UniCredit event last month, Václav Klaus raised some eyebrows when he criticized foreign-owned local banks for being too cautious and not aggressive enough. The fact that UniCredit also invited Pres. Tomáš Prouza of the SOCR retailers' union as one of its VIP guests also raised some eyebrows. As a ČSSD-installed government official under PM Bohuslav Sobotka, he had been one of Andrej Babiš's most vocal critics. Prouza had kept mostly quiet about Babiš in his new position, but this changed yesterday, when he said on OVM that Babiš should resolve his conflict of interest by either resigning or fully divesting Agrofert. This brings SOCR into the political boxing ring. UniCredit had Kč 3.0bn in exposure to Agrofert at the end of 2017, and other indirect member banks of SOCR had Kč 10.0bn. The obvious question is whether Prouza just doesn't know when to hold his tongue, or whether some foreign-owned banks are using him to get very aggressive. [ Czech Republic tourism Živnostenská banka lending loans ]

Glossary of difficult words

hostile takeover - an attempt to take control of a company without the consent or cooperation of the target;

to divest - to rid oneself of (a business interest or investment);

(financial) exposure - the amount an investor has at risk; the amount a bank has lent to a borrower.

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