Forget Becherovka or even slivovice, it’s Czech rum – tuzemák – which is the biggest selling spirit in this country. Despite its popularity here, however, the drink remains virtually unknown abroad. Now though, one south Bohemian distillery has started selling its product in North America and is hoping that Canadians will develop a taste for tuzemák as well. Earlier today, I spoke to Tomáš Petrů from the Fruko-Schulz distillery, and started by asking him what the difference was between tuzemák and better-known rums from the Caribbean:
The value of investments in the Czech Republic has taken a year-on-year
dive for the first half of 2009 to 10.5 billion crowns, the governmental
investment agency CzechInvest has announced. The decline comes amid a
growing number of investment projects, which increased for the same period
from 16 to 140. CzechInvest says that nearly half of the new investments
have been made in information technologies, and that investment in services
and research and development have for the first time exceeded investments
Meanwhile, higher unemployment levels in the country are increasing investor interest in Central and Western Bohemia, CzechInvest stated Thursday. Interest in business real estate has doubled in Plzeň for example, as companies find an advantageous pool of employees among growing numbers of unemployed but qualified workers.
In more business news, financial daily E15 reports that Monday was the deadline for potential investors to voice an interest in Czech brewery Staropramen. Staropramen has been put on the market by Anheuser-Busch InBev alongside the conglomerate’s other central and eastern European ventures to help pay off debts of nearly 45 billion USD. The brewer has said it hopes to receive 2.6 billion USD through the sale of its central and eastern European businesses, while analysts suggest that its enterprises in the region are worth considerably less than that, something closer to 2 billion USD. It has not been revealed just who is interested in the purchase of Staropramen, but there is speculation that private equity funds such as CVC Capital Partners and TPG have put in a bid. Staropramen is the second biggest beer-producer in the Czech Republic.
Exports of arms and military materials from the Czech Republic reached a record CZK 4.9 billion (USD 270 million) last year, a spokesperson for Czech trade ministry said on Wednesday. Over 30,000 revolvers and pistols manufactured in the Czech Republic were exported last year, along with a range of other guns and weapons. The Czech arms and security industry association said its members should enjoy similar turnover this year to 2008.
Nearly a fifth of Czech firms are considering moving their headquarters or production abroad and most of them are looking to the East mainly due to the cheaper labour costs, according to a poll conducted by the Czech Business Chamber among some 800 firms. Others are considering a move to countries such as Great Britain or the Netherlands in search of more advantageous tax legislation and a generally more friendly business environment. Companies that are feeling the pinch of the crisis have registered a drop in demand and are trying to find other ways of cutting costs. The textile, clothing and glass industries are particularly hard hit by the strong crown and cheap competition from Asia. For example, matches producer Solo Sirkárna has already relocated its production abroad and Koh-i-noor Sušice, a leading Czech pencils producer, has moved to Asia.
Czech foreign trade kept shrinking in May as the global crisis sent both exports and imports down by more than 20 percent year-on-year, the Czech Statistical Office said on Tuesday. Exports tumbled by 21.2 percent while imports contracted by 23.2 percent against May 2008, suggested official data. Czech trade posted a surplus worth 11.7 billion crowns (628.6 million USD) in May, a growth of 107.6 million USD against a year ago. The value of imports in May was the lowest since January 2006, a spokesperson from the Statistical Office said.
The Czech competition watchdog has imposed a fine on the country’s biggest importer and distributor of natural gas. RWE Transgas was fined 10 billion crowns for abusing its dominant market position. The office said that the company overcharged around 80,000 customers. The company admitted the fault and said it would not appeal. RWE Transgas is currently contesting a previous record fine of 240 million crowns imposed by the competition office in 2007 for abusing its dominant position.
A TV commercial for a contemporary history exhibition at the National
Museum in Prague won the bronze Film Lion at the annual Cannes Lions
International Advertising Festival in France on Saturday. The clip,
entitled Munich, was made by the Prague-based EURO RSCG agency. It shows an
elderly woman polishing showcases with exhibits, using a glass cleaning
spray. When she gets to the showcase holding the Munich Agreement, she
spits on it instead. Experts say the award is the biggest success for Czech
advertising in the last five years.
The Munich Agreements, signed in September 1938 by leaders of Nazi Germany, Italy, France, and the UK, forced Czechoslovakia into ceding parts of its territory to the Third Reich.
The Czech daily E15 has reported that a Czech company, LOM, owned by the Defence Ministry, will likely upgrade and overhaul between 50 and 60 transport helicopters for NATO and the European Union. The daily cited company head Jindřich Ploch as saying the order would be the biggest since the Czechs joined NATO and the EU. The helicopters are needed for both military and humanitarian missions in areas in southern Europe, Africa, as well as for missions in Afghanistan. Ten other companies could also take part in the project, the daily wrote.
In Business news this week: the Czech Republic is counting the costs of the flash floods hitting northern Moravia; the Czech Nation Bank keeps its key interest rate unchanged; a new runways at Prague’s Ruzyně Airport promises around 17,000 jobs; energy giant ČEZ is going to build a new gas-fired power plant; and the Investor of the Year awards are handed out.
Olga Lomová: Western misconceptions could let China export much of its system and ultimately contribute to our enslavement
Hitler no ‘gentleman’, but court rules Czech state need not apologize for president’s claim Ferdinand Peroutka said so
Bertha von Suttner – Prague-born peace campaigner whose ideas on cooperation and disarmament continue to have lasting effect
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czechia now ahead of Spain in GDP per capita, but still below EU average
Rare Terezín concentration camp artefacts found in attic of private home
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott