In Business News this week: Vodafone seeks damages over high speed Internet connections; KMV bags Hungarian bottled water company; second Chinese bank announced Czech expansion; Škoda Auto looks to remedy slack Indian sales; Gufex gets showcase at world championships.
Two of the big three Czech Telecoms companies look like they will be facing off in court. Vodafone has lodged a complaint with a Prague court saying that O2 abused its dominant position and shut it out of the fast internet market. Vodafone says it is seeking just under 400 million crowns in damages. O2 provides around 80 percent of the connections to fast internet services in the country. Vodafone says the charges levied by O2 for connections were exorbitant and meant that it could not offer services to companies and individuals. It says the damages were run up between 2011 and 2014 and are continuing at the rate of around 100 million crowns a year.
The biggest Czech mineral water producer Karlovarské Minerální Vody (KMV) is continuing its European expansion with the purchase of one of Hungary’s leading bottled water companies. Kékkúti Ásványviz’s best known product is the Theordora brand of bottled water. The price paid to Nestlé Waters was not disclosed. KMV says it plans to give its Hungarian purchase the same high profile and results it has achieved in the Czech Republic and Austria. It is the leader on the Czech mineral water market and is in second place on the Austrian market after buying a local company in 2008.
One of China’s big four banks, China Construction Bank, says it wants to open its first branch in the Czech Republic, according to the Ministry of Finance. The announcement followed a meeting between the bank’s top management and ministry officials. China Construction follows hard on the heels of rival Bank of China which was the first Chinese bank to announce a Czech presence with the branch expected to be operating by the end of this year. Direct flights between Prague and Bejing or Shanghai should also be agreed soon, according to Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek.
Car maker Škoda Auto is to revamp its sales network and after sales service in India in order to boost disappointing results, according to the business daily E15. The Czech Republic’s biggest car maker sold around 15,500 cars in the sub-continent last year. The paper said Škoda Auto’s models are not price competitive on the local market with leading Japanese and South Korean rivals. It added that the reputation for after sales service is also weak. An attempt will be made to reintroduce the Fabia hatchback to the Indian market after it was earlier withdrawn amid poor sales, the paper said.
A Czech family firm has scored even before the first games of the Ice Hockey World Championships take place in Prague and Ostrava at the start of May. Gufex is again supplying around 1,000 puks to the world championships as part of a long term deal with the International Ice Hockey Federation. The company produces around 1 million puks a year with around 90 percent of production exported. The Czech puks have been used at the Nagano, Salt Lake City, and Turin Winter Olympics but a rival Russian supplier was roped in for the Sochi games in 2014.
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