Business News this week: Record export growth expected in 2015; Czechs and Israelis well-situated to cooperate in technology and R&D suggest president and business leaders; changes at private energy producer could lead to sale of minority stake; Czech Republic’s online seller had poor week when it came to deliveries.
According to estimates released by the Czech Association of Exporters, exports from the Czech Republic to Germany will jump to a record 1.25 trillion crowns in 2015, an increase between seven or eight percent year-on-year. More than 30 percent of all Czech exports head to Germany; among the most significant areas are the automobile industry and manufacturing. In 2015 overall, Czech exports are expected to reach a record total of 3.8 trillion crowns. After Germany, key export destinations are Slovakia, Great Britain, the USA, France and Poland.
Not only business leaders but the Czech head-of-state, Miloš Zeman, are hoping to see closer cooperation between the Czech Republic and Israel in technological fields. At a meeting of the Czech-Israeli business forum in Prague this week, as part of the Israeli president’s visit, Mr Zeman suggested that Czech and Israeli firms could cooperate with good results in both biotech and nanotechnology. The head of the Chamber of Commerce, Vladimír Dlouhý, echoed Mr Zeman’s statements, agreeing there was room for significant co-operation between Czech and Israeli firms in the fields of science and education.
Daniel Křetínský, Patrik Takáč and partners in J&T Bank could be readying to sell part of the largest private Czech energy producer EPH, news website iDnes reported on Friday. The news site suggests the move could be an opportunity for Chinese holding group CEFC. EPH announced planned structural changes Thursday evening, which will see EPH come under a new firm called EP Infrastructure – with ownership in numerous companies involved in the transport, distribution and storage of natural gas as well the distribution and delivery of electricity. The owners of EPH may consider, the paper suggests, selling a minority stake in the new firm. The Chinese company CEFC acquired shares in a number of businesses in the Czech Republic earlier this year, leading to speculation about its additional interests.
One of the Czech Republic's largest e-shop websites, Mall.cz, lagged behind this week in dispatching orders after moving to new warehouse facilities. According to news site iDnes, roughly a quarter of the seller’s orders were delayed, some by up to a week; the site added that although the company had since posted information about delays online, it had failed to do initially. A spokeswoman for the online seller said that deliveries will return to normal by the beginning of the week at the latest.
Czech Airlines is set to scrap free lunches on economy class flights as of December, a spokesperson for the airlines confirmed. The only exceptions will be on the company’s longest routes to Alma-Ata and Seoul. Passengers on economy class flights will still be able to order menus at an additional cost. By comparison refreshments in business class will remain in the price of the ticket.