September 19, 2019 / 1:43 PM / 3 months ago

Czech development fund, backed by banks, will have $300 million in initial funds

PRAGUE (Reuters) - A Czech national development fund, backed by the country’s four biggest banks, should get underway by the middle of 2020 and will have initial financing of 7 billion crowns ($299.27 million), Industry Minister Karel Havlicek said on Thursday.

Banks signed a memorandum of cooperation on Thursday on launching the fund, which will be aimed at investing in projects in infrastructure, education and healthcare, using leverage to multiply the initial funding.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis said he expected other companies, not just banks, would join the fund. He had announced the fund in May as a counter-move to appeals by his government partner the Social Democrats’ demands to introduce a bank sector tax to raise funds for the budget.

Reporting by Robert Muller and Jan Lopatka

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