French giant Sanofi-Aventis, the third-largest pharmaceutical company in the world, bought a 25% stake in Czech generic drug maker Zentiva. The Czech company also has operations in Slovakia and Romania and is planning expansion into Poland, Russia and the Baltic states. Last year, Zentiva turned a profit of 65 million euros on 410 million euros in sales. Sanofi-Aventis brought the stake from the private equity firm Warburg-Pincus and Zentiva managers and staff.
Rating agency Moody's announced this week that it changed its rating for the Czech Republic's A1 foreign and domestic currency ratings from stable to positive to reflect the country's improving macroeconomic numbers and structural reform efforts. It was reported recently that GDP in the Czech Republic grew by six percent last year.
The Czech foreign debt last year increased by 114 billion crowns, or about 4.1 billion euros to total about 40 billion euros, or 38.4 percent of the Czech Gross Domestic Product. However, analysts say that the size of the debt and its rate of growth are nothing to be alarmed about as the Czech Republic has a relatively low debt level.
Czech Airlines received the first of 12 Airbus A 320 and A 321 jets it bought from the European passenger jet company last year. The new jets will replace older Boeing 737s. The A 320, which can carry 162 passengers, will be used on long-distance flights while the A 321s will be used for high-capacity flights.
The government sacked David Stadnik, head of the Czech Telecommunications Office, or CTU, the industry regulatory body in the Czech Republic. The sacking was proposed by IT Minister Dana Berova, who said that she was especially unhappy with Stadnik because his office failed to meet EU demands on the Czech Republic in telecommunications. Stadnik was replaced by CTU board member Pavel Dvorak.
Skoda Auto has launched production of its new MPV, the Roomster. The first models started rolling off the assembly line in the Kvasiny plant this week, with production expected to reach 15,000 cars a year. The model should be available for sale in June in the Czech Republic and during the summer elsewhere in Europe.
Finally, like most everyone else who owns a telephone, Czechs strongly dislike telemarketing. A poll released last week shows that the majority of Czechs consider telemarketing intrusive and only six percent said that telemarketing was a good method of learning about products and services. In the poll, half of all respondents said that they had experiences with telemarketing in the past year.
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