A government bill allowing foreigners to purchase residential real estate and land in the Czech Republic has been passed by the lower house of Parliament. The prohibition was an exemption that the country demanded upon acceding to the EU and expires this May. Foreign companies based in the Czech Republic and others however have long been availing themselves of legal loopholes and currently own land in the tens of thousands of hectares.
In Business News: importer RWE Transgas to try and renegotiate disadvantageous contract with Russian gas supplier; the Czech National Bank revises growth numbers downwards; new scientific facilities in the Czech Republic to see 14 billion crowns in European funds; Czech exporters unsatisfied with ministry plans to extend existing support network.
The Czech Industry and Trade Ministry would like to extend its network of offices in foreign countries that promote Czech exports by half. Minister Milan Kocourek told reporters on Tuesday that the existing network of ten such centres will be extended to cover all regions of the world. The Czech Foreign Ministry recently stopped hosting pro-export offices in their own facilities, and the economic agenda should be managed by diplomats. The move did not satisfy Czech exporters who were pushing for an independent export-supporting network.
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.
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
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Rare Terezín concentration camp artefacts found in attic of private home
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott