In this week’s Business News: coal mining contemplated beyond limits; more passengers for state rail operator; electricity exports slide; foreign beer rise for Plzeňský Prazdroj; and Czech clothing company lines up Dutch army order.
Relaxation of existing limits on coal mining are possible according to the new minister of industry and trade. Jan Mládek said on taking up his office that small changes could be contemplated on the main coalfield in the north-west of the country as long as there is no destruction of towns and local landmarks. He added that a major extension of the mining limits would have to be backed in a regional referendum. Existing limits date from the start of the 1990’s. Coal mining companies argue that existing reserves are being depleted and jobs are at risk wile environmentalists say the country should switch to cleaner fuel.
State-owned rail passenger company Czech Railways says around half a million more journeys were taken using its services last year than in 2012. Passengers paid for almost 170 million trips in 2013 with the biggest increase on suburban city and long haul journeys. The company is counting on a small operating profit of around 24 million crowns for this year.
The Czech Republic exported less electricity in 2013 than in its record topping volume of 2012. The country sold 16.9 TWh of power abroad last year compared with the previous 17.1 TWh. Czech power companies have been exporting the equivalent of the entire annual output of one nuclear reactor for each of the last four years. The strong export performance is undermining arguments for state owned utility ČEZ to add another two nuclear units at its Temelín site.
The biggest Czech brewer, Plzeňský Prazdroj, announced record exports sales in 2013 although overall beer sales were down on the previous year. The brewer said total sales declined by around 2.0 percent but exports shot up by around 5.0%. Asian countries and Britain were among the brightest export markets. In the Czech Republic. sales of flagship beer brand Pilsner Urquell, cider, and non-alcoholic beer sales, bucked the downward trend.
A Czech clothes producer has landed the contract to provide the ceremonial uniforms for the Dutch army. The order for around 70,000 outfits was won by Prostějov based company Koutný in the face of Dutch and Belgian competition. Professional uniforms represent around 60 percent of the firm’s turnover with its outfits worn by the Czech army, police, prison service, customs agents, firemen and staff at Prague’s main airport.
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