FINANCE: Investment figures boom
The Czech mergers and acquisitions market has recorded unheard-of development. Last year the number of transactions rose to 163, the value of which quadrupled that of 2002, to nearly USD 7.5 billion. “In 2003 the entire area of central and eastern Europe recorded significant growth in market volume, but the Czech market developed in a truly unique manner,” says Geoff Upton, the director of mergers and acquisitions in the Czech Republic and Slovakia for PricewaterhouseCoopers. The average transaction value in the private sector reached USD 25 million, while in 2002 this figure was only USD 6 million. The two largest deals on the market related to Český Telecom. More than half of the transactions were made by foreign investors, with Austria leading with thirteen, followed by Germany with eleven and the US with nine. Upton sees the market in a recovery stage. “However, one can’t expect future growth to be as dynamic as it was last year,” he concludes.

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EDUCATION: Many schools, few graduates
According to data from the Institute for Information on Education (ÚIV), 247,000 students currently attend Czech colleges, and this figure rises annually. Since 1989 the number of college graduates has climbed by 65%, and at the end of last year there were 28 private and 24 public colleges and four state schools in the Czech Republic. Nevertheless, this country still lags in numbers of graduates, not only behind countries of the EU (with the exception of Italy), but also behind the countries entering the EU along with the Czech Republic. According to
European statistics, an average of 40 out of every 1,000 citizens in the EU are college graduates each year, but in this country only 26 out of 1,000 are.

REGIONAL PROMOTION: Brno presents its new logo
As the Czech Republic enters the EU on 1 May, the Southern Moravian metropolis of Brno will present its unified visual style in the traditional red and white (or silver) combination. The winning logo design was created by Věra Marešová, a student at the Institute of Applied Arts in Prague. Four vertical, dynamically thickening stripes reflect avant-garde Brno architecture, which enjoyed its greatest boom in the period between WWI and WWII. They also symbolize the Moravian city’s historical demarcations. “The logo should express the modernity and timeless representativeness of the second biggest city in the Czech Republic,” says the author. The commission chose the design by a narrow margin of only five to four.

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