Liberty Ostrava seeks CZK 7 billion loan
Another major company in the east of the Czech Republic has fallen into serious difficulties. The steel company Liberty Ostrava hopes to hold on to all of its 6,000 employees but says it will need CZK 7 billion in state-guaranteed loans to do so. The fact that current rules for the COVID Plus support program only allow for loans of up to CZK 2 billion has led to the company pushing for those rules to be changed. Its spokeswoman said that a more sensible rule would be to allow the state guarantee to be up to 25 percent of the turnover of the company. "The needs of a company that has CZK 3 billion in turnover are different than those of a company with CZK 30 billion in turnover," she said. Liberty Steel was in trouble even before the pandemic thanks to stiff competition from Chinese and Turkish steel producers. Since the outbreak, however, demand for steel in Europe has fallen between 40 and 50 percent.