Fair Trade product sales in Czech Republic increased by some 60 percent in 2010, representing a turnover of some 80 million crowns. The sharp rise in interest in items produced or in developing countries under transparent conditions and according to clear ethical norms, has been attributed to several factors and earlier Radio Prague discussed some of them with Tomáš Bílý, the head of the Czech Fair Trade Association.
The Czech state-run power giant CEZ said on Tuesday its first-quarter net profit shrank by almost two percent as compared to the same period in 2010. The company’s net profit fell to 17.2 billion crowns (709 million euros) despite 5.0-percent growth in operating revenue to 56.8 billion crowns, the company said in a statement. The drop is attributed to the global crisis which had a delayed effect on the energy sector, as well as to new taxes on carbon trading permits and solar power.
Sales of fair trade products in the Czech Republic have gone up by sixty percent year-on-year, the CTK news agency reported on Tuesday. Sales in 2010 topped 80 million crowns, up from around 50 the previous year. Coffee is far and away the most popular fair-trade product, pulling sales up year by year, with chocolates, jam and honey next in line. The boom in sales is largely due to the fact that chain stores have now started offering the goods as well.
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.
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