In this week’s business news: An expert from a government think tank criticizes the behavior of the country’s immigration police, the Confederation of Industry elects a new president, the home electronics company ETA is to let go a fifth of their staff, Czech cinemas see their revenue drop by nearly 40 percent, and the Food Inspection Authority closes down a Prague location of the national grocery chain Albert.
Tesco Stores ČR was able to increase its market share by six percent year-on-year to over 40 billion Czech crowns. Tesco Stores ČR’s general director Phil Clarke said that the company plans to continue its growth this year. Another two dozen stores are to be opened in 2011 and the chain’s biggest hypermarkets will be modernized. In addition, Tesco is planning to launch online shopping in Prague. Last year, the company opened a total of 25 new locations and bought up 81 stores of the competing Žabka chain. Tesco entered the Czech market in 1996; currently, the company is operating 158 stores, 18 gas stations and six shopping centers in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic’s fragile economic recovery has, among other things, affected Czechs’ beer drinking habits. After an 8-percent drop in beer production last year, data by the Czech Beer and Malt Association released on Tuesday now show that in 2009, imports of low-quality, cheap beers reached a record level of around one million hectolitres, three times more than the previous year. RP spoke to the association’s head, Jan Veselý about the changing beer market in the country.
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.
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