Czech energy giant ČEZ announced its operating revenues in the first half of 2014 year-on-year in an online press release earlier today. According to ČEZ, the group’s net income was 17.2 billion crowns, 40 percent lower than last year. ČEZ blames the warm and dry winter along with low electricity prices and plans to raise earnings by cuts in fixed costs and expanding its business into new areas.
The Czech Ministry of Agriculture may have squandered up to 1.5 billion crowns on ambiguous promotion of Czech food and wine products over the past six years, according to a report by the country’s Supreme Audit Office. Much of the money was allegedly committed without a clear strategy, and in breach of the Czech public procurement legislation.
Many Czech food producers have invested into the Russian market in past years, and their strategy seemed to be working. But the arrival of reciprocal sanctions between the West and Russia due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine is likely to thwart their thriving business. Voices of concern have already been heard from some of the major Czech producers active on the Russian market – but Czech farmers and small producers could face an even greater risk.
Much of Prague’s Main Train Station has been transformed in recent years, with the introduction of brightly-lit retail outlets turning parts of the interior into a modern, airport-style mall. However, other parts of the renovation have so far failed to materialise – meaning the station’s Italian developer could be shown the door in little over two years’ time, a full three decades earlier than originally envisaged, the newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Thursday.
Czech industrial production in June rose by 8.1 percent compared to the same period last year, particularly thanks to the continuing high output of the automobile industry, with electrical equipment manufacturers also registering success. The figures, released earlier on Wednesday by the Czech Statistical Office, are an improvement to May’s 2.5 percent growth which was lower than expected by analysts.
While in past years the surge of Russian tourists visiting the Czech Republic seemed to outpace all competition, this year has seen a 40% downfall in their numbers. However, the country’s rising popularity among Chinese and Korean visitors has managed to prevent losses for the tourist industry although it’s not clear whether they will be able to compensate for the strong Russian tourist base over the long term.
In Business News this Friday: Industry & Trade Minister warns up to 1,000 could be lost due to EU sanctions; Ahold gets ready to transform former Interspar supermarkets; Vítkovice Steel will shut down Ostrava plant; Travel Service will no longer offer charter flights to Bangkok; Czechs take healthy interest in their finances.
Although the idea was rejected by new Slovák President Andrej Kiska on his visit to Prague in June, the export banks of both countries have not given up plans to revive the Made in Czechoslovakia designation. The deciding factor is the former Czechoslovakia’s good reputation, but not all agree bringing back the name is a good thing, for obvious reasons: the Czech Republic and Slovakia have been separate countries since 1993.
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