In this week’s Business News: Czech and Slovak companies sign defense sector venture; a new state company may be created to take charge of the expansion of Temelín; Prague’s transit company, Dopravní podnik, reaches deal with the engineering company Škoda Transportation; a Czech e-commerce businessman is seeking to break onto the booming US market.
Czech and Slovak companies have signed their first significant defense sector joint venture project since the countries split in 1993. Czech companies Retia, Eldis and Tatra Trucks will team up with Slovak companies EVPÚ and VOP Slovakia to produce a new generation of mobile air defence radars. Both the Czech and Slovak armed forces are looking to replace their aged Soviet era mobile radars with the Czechs reportedly ready to buy up to 10 vehicles and the Slovaks fewer.
Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mládek has suggested that a new state company could be created to take charge of the expansion of the Temelín nuclear reactor. The move, which would snatch the project away from near 70 percent state owned power company ČEZ, and result in the ending of its ongoing construction tender without a winner being declared, is an option being explored, Mládek said in an interview this week. ČEZ is constrained how far it can proceed with the construction of two new nuclear units because minority shareholders might protest that it is putting profits and future dividends at risk.
After months of negotiations, Prague’s transit company, Dopravní podnik, has reached a deal with the engineering company Škoda Transportation to amend a previous contract for new trams worth 19.2 billion crowns. Dopravní podnik, in financial straits, agreed to an additional four years in its payment calendar to pay off the extensive order. The city will pay off 1.14 billion crowns per year. Prague’s mayor, Tomáš Hudeček, said the deal would no longer threaten the future of the troubled transit company. The mayor also stressed that the city aimed to keep public transit ticket prices at their current level, no doubt a sensitive issue among voters in what is an election year.
A Czech e-commerce businessman is seeking to do what none of his peers have successfully done before – break into the booming US market. Businessman and joint founder Michal Zámec of Parfums.cz expects to launch in the US market in the second half of this year. A logistics and distribution network is being prepared by the Brno-based company at the cost of tens of millions of crowns. Last year, Parfums.Cz had sales of 2.5 billion crowns with the Czech market accounting for less than a third of that.
Škoda Auto’s operating profit fell by 26.7 percent to 14.3 billion crowns last year, and sales dipped by 1.1 percent to 282.4 billion, the German owner Volkswagen Group said in a press release on Friday. The profit fall was due to lower sales and exchange rate developments, Volkswagen said. Škoda Auto said earlier it supplied 920,800 cars to customers last year, an annual drop of 2 percent. Škoda unveiled eight new or redesigned models in 2013.