03-08-2007

Small brewers accuse Plzensky Prazdroj of monopoly practices

Small breweries in the Czech Republic have accused Plzensky Prazdroj of preventing them from supplying beer to some restaurants. The Czech anti-trust office permits the maker of Pilsner Urquell to sign contracts on minimum annual beer purchases with restaurants, setting a ceiling on the amount that must be bought from Prazdroj at 70 percent. Small breweries say their share has fallen - though that claim has not been borne out by anti-trust office investigations.

Skoda going Down Under

Czech-made Skoda cars will enter the Australian market later this year, with two models, the Octavia and Roomster, going on sale Down Under in October. Their steering wheels will be on the right, with the cars made here in the Czech Republic. That contrasts with vehicles for the Indian market, which are shipped to India as components and assembled there.

Seznam and Atlas combine search engines to fight Google.cz

Two strong rivals on the Czech internet are teaming up to fight the growing power of Google, Hospodarske noviny reported this week. Seznam, the leader on the market, is set to combine its search engine with that of Atlas in a move aimed at combating the American giant - since Google.cz was launched last year it has cornered 15 percent of the Czech search market. Users will not notice any changes to the two Czech portals - except if they search for the same thing on both, in which case results will be identical.

Volny enters digital TV via phone-lines market

The firm CzechOnLine, operating under the name Volny, has begun offering digital television via fixed telephone lines. Telefonica O2 already has a head start in this field, having attracted 40,000 customers since it launched the service nine months ago. In an effort to catch up, Volny is offering potential viewers the HBO Digital film channel.

Unorthodox swan song from Ceska sporitelna CEO Jack Stack

Ceska sporitelna's outgoing CEO Jack Stack has recorded an amusing video as a farewell message to the bank's employees. To the tune of the Police song Every Breath You Take, Mr Stack sings "every fee that spikes, every client that hikes, I'll be watching you", with the tune continuing in that vein. And in a sense he will still be watching his former employees: the American, highly respected in Czech business circles, has been appointed to the supervisory board of Erste Bank, which owns Ceska sporitelna. You can find the video on youtube if you search for 'CS Jack Stack'.

03-08-2007