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EBRD Director Says Restructuring Firms Vital For Czech Transition

Prague, March 20 (RFE/RL) -- Economic reform in the Czech Republic has been hailed as a model for other Central and Eastern European countries to follow. But a Czech director for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) says Czech companies face serious expenses in the future unless management is restructured soon.

Jiri Huebner, Director of the EBRD's Czech and Slovak teams, says "restructuring is more important than privatization itself." He told a group of international financial leaders meeting today in RFE/RL's Prague headquarters that "privatization only provides the framework and impetus for restructuring. He said that "restructuring delays always result in increased costs."

Huebner, who works out of the EBRD's London offices, said many Czech companies analyzed by the EBRD are overstaffed -- particularly in the administrative ranks. He said: "Now could be a good time to introduce layoffs."