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Nova’s prospects brighten

B'caster's staff paid, debts cleared

PRAGUE — Cash-strapped broadcaster Nova TV has cleared its CZK500 million ($17 million) debts and paid its staffers, topper Vladimir Zelezny said Monday.

Creditor bank ABN AMRO had ordered Nova advertisers to pay their bills directly to the bank last month, amid concerns about the station’s financial health. At the time, some staffers had not been paid for four months.

But Nova is now back in charge of its own cash flow — although how long Zelezny will remain general director is still in doubt as the row continues over who holds the balance of power among Nova TV license shareholders.

In June there was a rift among the shareholders. One group sold its shares to Czech investment firm PPF.

Zelezny supporter MEF Holding, which provides television services for Nova, is contesting the sale, claiming it has right of first refusal if the shares are sold.

PPF also owns Kratky Film, the once-powerful animation and documentary producer. Nova TV now occupies Kratky Film’s former offices and studios on the Barrandov Studio’s lot.

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