The Prague authorities are planning to rebuild the city’s Old Town Market, which was located in the space between the streets 28. října, Rytířská, Perlová in the heart of the capital. The listed building today houses a supermarket and restaurants, with the only evidence of its previous usage a decorated passage leading to Rytířská St. A spokesperson for the city says it will again serve as a market place when the CZK 28 million project is completed.
An internal audit at the Energy Regulatory Office (ERU) suggests former employees may have illegally upped the prices of electricity from solar plants. ERU chairwoman Alena Vitaskova said the audit’s findings indicate that in the years between 2005 and 2011 solar energy prices were not set within the bounds of the law, incurring damages worth tens of billions of crowns. The public prosecutor’s office is looking into the matter. A number of employees who reportedly tried to withhold information and boycott the audit have been sacked.
In this week’s business news: The Czech Republic will have to build around 13 000 charging points for electric cars by 2020; The greatest number of foreign investors have decided to enter the Czech market last year since the beginning of the economic crisis; ČEZ’s distribution license in Albania has been revokes by the government there; Czech government debt is the eighth lowest in the whole of the EU; Budvar was unable to stop rival Anheuser-Busch from having the right to register the ‘Bud’ trademark in Europe.
The French company Areva that was excluded from a public tender for the expansion of the nuclear power plant Temelín has again received a negative response from the Office for the Protection of Competition to their request to suspend the tender. Areva was excluded last October by the state-owned energy company ČEZ from the tender competition because the company allegedly failed to meet the criteria. Areva has denied the claims and has twice requested for the tender to be suspended and re-evaluated. ČEZ is currently choosing between the Japanese-American Westinghouse and the Czecho-Russian Consortium MIR.1200.
An Albanian regulator on Monday voted to revoke the distribution license of a loss-making unit of the Czech energy giant CEZ. It is also holding the company liable for failing to import electricity into the Balkan state and not investing in its power grid. CEZ plans to contest the move and will demand compensation in a court of arbitration. The decision is the latest move in a long-running battle between CEZ and Tirana over power imports and prices.
The Czech power giant ČEZ has had its license to operate Albania’s national grid revoked just three years after entering the market. The state regulator’s decision, announced on Monday, follows months of controversy over tariffs and unpaid bills. ČEZ is now counting its losses, estimated at around 5 billion crowns, and is weighing an arbitration suit against the Albanian government. Economic journalist Chris Johnstone says the Albanian investment was a calculated risk that failed to pay off.
Automotive production decreased by 1.7% last year to 1.174 billion cars. Despite the decline, 2012 saw the second largest automobile production in Czech Republic’s history. This is also the first decrease since 2003. Last year, car production went up by 9.5% compared to 2010, while the past decade has seen the output of the automotive industry grow 1.6 times. In the whole of Europe, the car industry suffered greater loses, with automobile production decreasing by 7%.
In Business News this week: the Czech public debt reaches a new high; Czechs buy less food, clothes and home appliances; Albania is set to withdraw ČEZ’s licence to operate in the country; up to 40 percent of retailers violate trade regulations during post-Christmas sales; and the popular Czech butter spread will undergo an EU-enforced name change by mid 2013.
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