In this week’s Business News: mining company nosedives; Agrofert media expansion continues; cinemas get more from fewer; brewer eyes IPO; and star’s shirt reflects sponsorship shake-up.
Shares in the Czech Republic’s biggest coke producer, New World Resources (NWR), have taken a stock exchange battering after the company revealed weaker prices for sales in the first quarter and rest of 2014. Shares dropped by more than 20% at one stage in Prague on Thursday. NWR’s biggest shareholder, investment company BXR, is reported to be ready to step in with a capital restructuring to help out the struggling coke and coal producer.
The main company of billionaire Czech businessman and politician Andrej Babiš has been cleared to continue its buy up of local media. Agrofert was this week given the green light by the national competition office to acquire leading commercial broadcaster Radio Impuls. Babiš’ agro-chemical firm already snapped up two of the Czech Republic’s biggest quality newspapers last year after earlier launching free papers to erode their sales.
Czech cinemas welcomed less visitors through their doors last year but charged them more for tickets. Ticket sales fell by around 120,000 just over 11 million for the year. That’s the lowest total for eight years. But total cinema takings rose by around a tenth with the average price of a ticket climbing to around 125 crowns.
The Lobkowitz Group of breweries is aiming to sell 30-40% of its shares on the Prague Stock Exchange in a move to raise cash for further expansion. Seven small and mid-sized regional breweries in Bohemia and Moravia make up the group, which have elbowed their way into nationwide supermarkets by selling special packs of their beer. The group says widespread interest from possible investors persuaded it to go with the IPO.
Czech star Tomáš Berdych served up impressive tennis but debatable taste at the Australian Open. His striped blue and white shirt and red shorts were unfavourably compared to a football kit or sailor’s outfit. But Berdych’s sartorial transformation is apparently a reflection of changing sponsorship patterns in the game. Dominant sponsor Nike is now concentrating its cash on fewer players and making way for newcomer brands, such as Berdych’s, to make a splash.