Final Word from Monday, May 18, 2020

How can one of the Big Four possibly put a value on Smartwings/ČSA, as Finance Min. Alena Schillerová suggested, without knowing when the government plans to lift the requirement for almost anyone entering the country to have a negative covid-19 test? If the CR remains unwelcoming to incoming and outgoing tourists, it can hardly argue that a national airline is of strategic importance. This insistence on putting the cart before the horse raises questions about the cabinet's motives. Who would benefit from a government takeover of ČSA? The Czech owners? Certainly, if they remained in control. The Chinese owner? Not so much if it left empty-handed. Bank creditors? Absolutely. According to Page 57 of Smartwings' 2018 audit, all the shares in the company are pledged to Komerční banka and UniCredit. They were owed a total of Kč 1.0bn (Page 59), and other banks another Kč 680m. A state takeover would save their skin, regardless of whether ČSA ever flew again. [ Czech Republic coronavirus auditor Rödl & Partner Raiffeisenbank ČSOB Česká spořitelna Citic China ]

Glossary of difficult words

Big Four - the main audit companies - Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers;

to put the cart before the horse - to reverse the proper order or procedure of something;

to pledge - to provide as security.

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