In this week’s Business News: Škoda Auto sees car rent revolution; private rail operators target Slovakia; lower takings for Tesco tills; Brno belatedly courts Amazon; and ovine sales surge over Easter. More
Czech state owned power giant ČEZ’s move to scrap its tender for expanding the Temelín nuclear power plant has been in the rear view mirror for some time. The company is saying it’s an economic decision not a political one, but in fact it is a bit of both. More
In this week’s Business News: Czech Republic is export giant for ITC equipment; exports fill in for shrinking domestic beer market; Škoda Auto sets sales records; Metrostav sees light at the end of foreign tunnels; and the game’s up for gambling firms. More
Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek said the ČEZ tender to build two reactors at the same time and site was perhaps over ambitious and simply not just possible under current electricity prices. The minister added that the question of whether a wholly owned state company should take over nuclear power plant construction should be asked. The focus of shareholder companies like ČEZ is often on every increasing short term profits and not on projects with a return over 60 years. A new tender could also have the advantage of opening up to new bidders, he added.
The Czech energy giant ČEZ announced on Thursday it was cancelling a tender on two new nuclear reactors at the Temelín nuclear power plant. The deal - estimated as worth hundreds of billions of crowns - was shelved a day after the government stated it would not offer any state guarantees in the project. There were two remaining bidders in the deal, the US-based Westinghouse and Russian-led consortium MIR 1200, who have been left empty-handed. More
Czech utility ČEZ has cancelled the tender to build two new nuclear reactors at its Temelin site, adding that it had informed the remaining bidders, US based Westinghouse and the Russian-Czech MIR 1200 consortium. The move comes a day after the Czech government explicitly stated that it would not give any state guarantees for construction of the nuclear new power plants. At the same time, the Cabinet reiterated its general support for nuclear power and called for the ministries of industry and trade and ministry of finance to plan the country’s next steps for its development by the end of this year in the context of redrawing its long term energy policy. ČEZ Chief Executive Daniel Beneš said in a statement that future development with the state would be necessary to develop nuclear energy given the fact the country could face an electricity shortage in 20 years time.
The Czech Republic and Austria say they want to turn a new leaf in bilateral ties, intensifying both governmental and regional cooperation. Following a meeting in Vienna between Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and visiting Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek the two sides said much time had been lost through past hostilities in bilateral relations and they were ready to reestablish dialogue on all outstanding issues, boost business and cultural ties and improve the infrastructure linking the neighbor states. Two major areas of friction between the Czech Republic and Austria are the countries’ stands on nuclear energy and the Beneš decrees which sanctioned the expulsion of 2.5 million Sudeten Germans from post-war Czechoslovakia.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said he would be prepared to back the construction of a fifth reactor at the Dukovany nuclear power plant in southern Moravia. On a visit to Třebíč on Monday the prime minister said he would bring the matter up within the ongoing debate on the government’s long-term energy strategy. Dukovany has a licence to operate its four nuclear reactors until 2015 and plans to ask for an extension until 2025 and eventually 2035. A newly-built reactor could produce energy for another 60 years. Meanwhile the expansion of the Temelín nuclear power plant in south Bohemia from the present two to four reactors looks increasingly uncertain.
Unions at car maker Škoda Auto have warned that they could take strike action unless a new pay and conditions agreement is reached by the end of March. Unions say that their real wages have fallen recently and are seeking guarantees from management about future employment and investments by the company. Average wages at Škoda Auto now stand at around 33,000 crowns. A pay deal at joint venture car maker TPCA has already been sealed under which wages will climb by an average 2.4 percent. Average wages at the Kolín plant are around 30,000 crowns.
In this week’s Business News: Czech and Slovak companies sign defense sector venture; a new state company may be created to take charge of the expansion of Temelín; Prague’s transit company, Dopravní podnik, reaches deal with the engineering company Škoda Transportation; a Czech e-commerce businessman is seeking to break onto the booming US market. More