May 27, 2016 / 2:16 PM / 3 years ago

Czech finance minister's Agrofert group boosts profit in 2015

PRAGUE, May 27 (Reuters) - Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis’ Agrofert group raised net profit by 41 percent to 8.6 billion crowns ($355 million) in 2015, mainly due to improved performance at the chemical division, the group said on Friday.

Agrofert, which groups more than 250 companies from fertiliser production to bakeries and meat processing, also increased earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) by 22 percent to 16 billion crowns.

Agrofert is the largest food and agricultural group in the country and one of its biggest employers with a workforce exceeding 34,000.

Some of the companies owned by Babis do business with the state or generate part of their revenue from state subsidies. Critics say this raises potential conflicts of interest, which he denies.

Babis, 61, established and leads the ANO, the second strongest member of the centre-left coalition government. The coalition, in power since January 2014, is led by Prime Minister and Social Democrat chairman Bohuslav Sobotka. ($1 = 24.2400 Czech crowns) (Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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