In this week’s Business News: the Czech Republic’s industrial output outpaces the EU average; Czech car manufacturer Škoda achieves a historic sales record; one in three German investors would no longer choose the Czech Republic as a place for investments today; the CEO of a troubled lottery company offers a cash reward for information on persons behind a prank; and the Czech restaurants’ association protests the discontinuation of tax incentives for meal tickets.
A survey published by the Czech-German Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday finds that about a third of German investors in the Czech Republic would not invest in the country again today. This represents a significant change compared to the survey’s results from the previous year, when only about 20 percent said they would no longer invest in the Czech Republic if they were given the choice today. Among the main negatives cited by the 73 respondents are poor payment practices, inadequate legal protection mechanisms, as well as a lack of transparency in public tenders. German companies remain the key investor in the Czech Republic.
A ten-metre advertising blimp is lost in Czech airspace after coming untied from a building in Stará Boleslav on Monday. The unmanned helium blimp damaged two roofs and a chimney before disappearing into cloudy skies. While it poses no danger in falling to the ground, air traffic control at nearby Prague Airport was forced to adapt flight plans according to its expected speed and course.
Czech authorities will start testing food and other imports from Japan for radiation in the coming days, a spokeswoman for the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority said on Wednesday. Inspection employees together with customs officials will take samples from Japanese imports, and will also test Japanese foodstuffs that are already on the Czech market, although they do not expect to find any problems, the spokeswoman said. The Czech Republic imports foods items such as tea, legume products, fruit, soya sauce, pasta and spirits from Japan; last year’s food imports from Japan were worth 28 million crowns.
The Czech foreign trade balance was 15.7 billion crowns in the black in January, a 400 million crown improvement on the same period in 2009 and better than the 13.6 billion crown surplus expected in a poll of analysts. The trade surplus in vehicles and machinery rose by 9.9 billion crowns. But that was all but cancelled out by a widening deficit on fuel oils and chemicals.
Black coal imports in the Czech Republic have been on gradual increase in
recent years, last year growing by one quarter to 5.6 billion crowns,
according to data from the Czech Statistical Office. The main importer was
Poland (around 4 billion crowns), followed by Russia (992 million). Except
for a drop in 2009, black coal imports to the Czech Republic have grown
steadily. According to experts, coal imports are important for the
functioning of the Czech market and price formation. They are not
however, to dominate over domestic production in the future, experts say.
Regarding brown coal, domestic mining companies expect a considerable fall in output in the coming years, mainly due to the mining limits. Coal prices for heating plants and other customers are therefore expected to go up.
Last year the number of Czech companies fleeing to tax havens was the lowest for five years according to figures released by the CEKIA financial information company on Wednesday. The number of Czech companies setting up in such havens for the first time rose by 281 to total 11,424. That is an increase of 2.5 percent on the previous year. Many Czech companies relocate to the Dutch Antilles, Cyprus and Luxembourg because of the tax advantages. Favourite locations last year were Monaco and the Seychelles. The Czech government is on the verge of signing two agreements with the British tax havens Guernsey and the Isle of Man to get access to details of Czechs squirreling assets there. The Ministry of Finance says another three agreements are in the pipeline.
Private hospitals have expressed an interest in taking over regional hospitals that would be forced to reduce healthcare services or even close if 3,800 doctors unsatisfied with wages make good on their threat to leave as of March 1. The health minister is continuing to negotiate with doctors’ representatives to avoid such a scenario but no breakthrough has been reached yet. There are 70 private hospitals in the Czech Republic that manage 15 percent of the country’s hospital beds; they also provide care in most medical branches. The Agel chain of medical facilities is one to have expressed an interest in taking over in areas. On Sunday, the governor for central Bohemia, David Rath, said no state-run hospital was for sale in his region but admitted privatisation – sparked by mass departures – could take place in other areas.
Karel Gott to get funeral with state honours as singer’s death is mourned at home and abroad
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Karel Gott’s Mona Lisa to be put up for auction
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott