In Business News: Industry and Trade Minister confirms that Czech Republic will try and further expand nuclear energy production; Rusatom Overseas signs memorandum with potential subcontractors on Temelín; Škoda Auto sees significant increase in sales in foreign markets; One-third of Czechs will be unable to save a single crown a month this year, poll suggests; and Czech nanotechnology firms make mark in Japan.

Industry minister: country should rely heavily on nuclear power

Martin Kuba, photo: archive of the Czech GovernmentMartin Kuba, photo: archive of the Czech Government The Czech Republic will insist on the expanded use of nuclear energy and will seek a location for the possible construction of a third nuclear source, Industry and Trade Minister Martin Kuba stated in Prague on Thursday at the international energy forum. The location for a third nuclear site will be sought in addition to the completion of the nuclear power plant Temelín in southern Bohemia, and the extension of the service life of the Dukovany plant in southern Moravia until the year 2035, the minister said. The Industry and Trade Ministry is drafting a strategy that will set conditions for the Czech power sector for another 25 or 30 years. Plans should be completed in mid-2012 and are expected to outline conditions for plants which will be expected to cover more than half of domestic power consumption. New reactors at Temelín are to be fully completed and operational by the year 2025. In addition to pushing nuclear power, Mr Kuba stressed that the Czech Republic would not support renewable energy sources unless they produced power at a reasonable price.

Rusatom Overseas signs memorandum with potential subcontractors on Temelín

In related news, the Russian company Rusatom Overseas from the Rosatom group signed a memoranda of understanding with ten Czech and Slovak firms this week on possible future cooperation during the completion of the Temelín nuclear power plant. The Czech and Slovak companies will become subcontractors to Rosatom's subsidiaries Atomstroyexport and Gidropress if the Russian firms end up wining the tender. Atomstroyexport and Gidropress are taking part in a consortium, together with the Czech company Škoda JS. Under the proposal, Czech companies would also have the opportunity to participate in the development of Russian firm' nuclear power plants around the world. Among the companies planning to cooperate with the Russians are the Czech firms I&C Energo, ETD Transformatory, Kabelovna Kabex and others. The companies received a catalogue of 4,000 products and services which Rosatom is looking for in the production of power plants. The value of the project to complete Temelín has been estimated at between 200 and 300 billion crowns.

Škoda Auto sees significant increase in sales in foreign markets

Photo: archive of CRo 7 - Radio PraguePhoto: archive of CRo 7 - Radio Prague Czech car maker Škoda Auto raised consolidated profit by 82 percent to 16.1 billion crowns in 2011, and its sales grew by 15 percent to 252.6 billion, the company said at a press conference this week. Škoda already announced in January it sold a record 879,200 cars last year. That represents year-on-year growth of 15 percent. Its global market share reached 1.4 percent. The highest growth last year was in Russia where Škoda raised sales by 63 percent to 74,000 cars. Sales in India, meanwhile, increased by 50% to 30,000 units and sales in China and Eastern Europe went up by more than one-fifth. Škoda Auto sold 220,000 cars in China and 34,300 cars in Eastern Europe. Sales in Western Europe grew by 9 percent to 362,000 cars and sales in Central Europe by 2 percent to 123,200 cars. In addition, the company created 1,850 new jobs last year it has 26,565 employees worldwide.

One-third of Czechs unable to save a single crown a month

One-third of Czechs will be unable to save a single crown a month this year, compared to 38 percent last year, a survey by consumer loan provider Home Credit has suggested. The number of people who were earlier able to save higher amounts of money decreased as well. The numbers were released this week. Growing prices of mandatory expenditures have had an impact on households´ budgets, Home Credit said. On the other hand, the number of Czechs who save up to 2.500 crowns per month grew. Home Credit conducted the poll in the Czech Republic (as well as a similar one in Slovakia in February); in the Czech Republic it relied on 468 respondents.

Nanotechnology firms make mark in Japan

Photo: Advanced MaterialsPhoto: Advanced Materials According to recent reports, Czech firms have solidified their position on the world market in nanotechnology, following the Nano tech international trade fair held in Tokyo last month. It was the first appearance at the fair by Czech companies; ten firms took part, with participation having been organised by CzechInvest, and CzechTrade, with help from the Czech Embassy in Japan. Industry observers have noted that Advanced Materials – JTJ. Limited was judged by organisers as a firm with the greatest potential for Japanese partners. The company reportedly has drawn interest in Asia also in Mongolia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Malaysia. Advanced Materials is a developer and producer of photo-catalytic coating materials.