Crown goes below 18 to dollar, exporter to US hit

The Czech currency the crown this week again strengthened towards the United States dollar, when it broke through the 18-crown barrier to reach a record 17.85. Since the start of 2007, the crown has gained 12.5 percent against the US currency. Pavel Sobisek of UniCreditBank told Hospodarske noviny that it was now practically impossible for Czech companies to export to the US. However, the United States accounted for only 2 percent of Czech exports in the January to September period.

Study finds Czech tax system among most burdensome in EU

A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the World Bank released this week found that the Czech Republic has one of the most complicated and burdensome systems of taxation in the European Union. In the category “ease of paying taxes” this country was the fourth worst in the EU, while in the “time to comply” category it was the very worst – companies in the Czech Republic devote an average of 930 hours a year to tasks related to taxation.

Meinl European Land planning further shopping centres

Meinl European Land is planning to invest over CZK one billion in five new shopping centres in the Czech Republic, Hospodarske noviny reported, adding that the centres will also feature apartments. The company already owns 101 shopping centres in the Czech Republic, as well as others elsewhere in the region.

Press: Heineken in talks to buy drinks group

Dutch brewing giant Heineken NV is in talks to buy the Czech Republic’s Drinks Union group, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. Drinks Union produces six brands of beer, including Dacicky and Zlatopramen, as well as spirits such as Stara Myslivecka. Heineken increased its share of the Czech beer market to 8 percent earlier this year when it acquired the brewery Krusovice.

Brewers expect strong sales over festive period

Meanwhile as the festive season approaches many of the country’s beer makers expect a rather merry Christmas. A spokesperson for Pivovar Litovel told Lidove noviny that beer sales rise by around 30 percent in the lead-up to Christmas, with consumption approaching summer levels on the very eve of the holiday. Some drinks makers are bringing out special seasonal brews, such as Holba a Zubr, with its 13.51 degree Holba Serak Special. That unusual degree comes from Serak mountain in the Jeseniky, which is 1,351m above sea level.