Many Czech women have, at least once in their life, come across cosmetics with herbal extracts produced by the Czech company Ryor. But how many have realized that the brains behind the successful brand is a woman? None other than Eva Stepankova. Now in her early sixties, she started Ryor by herself, in the basement of her house, sixteen years ago. Over the years it has become a household name.
As fashion designers and enthusiasts from all over Europe gathered in the Prague Exhibition Centre in Holesovice, the 5th International Moda Praha Fashion Festival was declared open on Wednesday morning, an event dedicated to the European design world and to the new Czech trends of the upcoming year. But to what extent does the future of the Czech clothing industry retain past preconceptions of male and female attitudes towards fashion?
In Business News: new legislation should make bankruptcy proceedings run more smoothly, while a labour code approved this week has been dividing opinion; the OECD gives the Czech Republic advice on how to improve its economy; it seems the Czech Republic may renege on a pledge to increase the share of its power generated from renewable resources; digital broadcasting can now be received by a third of Czech households; and beer exports were up 17 percent last year.
In the business news this week: Czech foreign trade shows its first ever surplus, the Finance Ministry raises its GDP growth forecast as the crown hits a new high against the euro, the government promises almost 4 billion dollars in incentives and Plzensky Prazdroj records a significant increase in foreign sales.
For some 1,300 workers last week as well as the Czech government the suspension of production at the country's LG Philips Displays plant - the 2nd largest investment project in the country - came as a shock. With parent company LG Philips Displays Holding filing for bankruptcy, the obvious question was: would the subsidiary company follow suit? The Czech government - specifically the Ministry for Industry and Trade - has been trying to prevent just that.
The Czech Ministry for Trade & Industry has been taking steps to try and help LG Philips Displays, a plant in the region of eastern Moravia manufacturing TV screens, which shut down on Friday amidst financial difficulty. Until now, the plant has employed 1,300 people. Specialists say its permanent shutting down would have a devastating impact on the region. For now, operation is set to resume on Tuesday, with two out of three production lines running. For the long term: the Ministry for Trade & Industry is trying to work out a plan to save the factory, with options including securing an export loan from the Czech Export bank.
If the Dutch company LG Philips Displays pulls out of the Czech Republic it should return investment incentives it received from the Czech state, says the head of CzechInvest, Tomas Hruda. The company's factory in south Moravia shut down on Friday as it filed for bankruptcy protection. It employs 1,300 people.
From a number of months now the South Korean car maker Hyundai has been considering opening a huge new plant in north Moravia; if it happens, it will transform the region's economy. A decision had been due at the end of December, but talks stalled. On Thursday a delegation from Hyundai completed a fresh round of negotiations in Prague, but still no contract has been signed. The minister of industry and trade, Milan Urban, said at a press briefing on Thursday morning that he believed a final deal would be announced at the end of next month.
The South Korean car maker Hyundai has confirmed a major investment in the Czech Republic. According to the Czech internet daily Novinky, Hyuandai said in a letter to the Turkish industry minister, that it had decided to build its new car plant in Nosovice, north Moravia, mainly thanks to the lower tax burden. A Hyuindai spokesman later confirmed that the firm was sending a delegation to the Czech Republic to sign a contract worth 30 to 40 billion crowns. The new plant is expected to decrease unemployment in the region. Scheduled to begin operation in 2008 the plant will employ some 3,000 people and provide more jobs for people in supplier companies.
Beer is without a doubt one of the Czech Republic's best-known products. It attracts thousands to visit the country but Czech brews are also increasingly available abroad. While domestic consumption remains roughly the same, export figures are growing by the year. Last year the volume of exported Czech beer reached a record 3 million hectolitres.
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