Business Briefs

TPCA
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The Toyota-Peugeut-Citroen automobile plant (TPCA) in Kolin, east Bohemia, is in line to produce 300,000 cars per year; Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated some of Russia's oil profits could be reinvested in the Czech Republic in areas of science and culture; Cesky telekom will merge with subsidiary Eurotel to form Telefonica O2.

TPCA at full production, plans to manufacture more than 300,000 cars per year

The Toyota-Peugeut-Citroen automobile factory or TPCA in Kolin, east Bohemia has released numbers revealing that after one year of operation, the plant is now in line to produce 300,000 cars per year. In its first year, the joint venture that assembles Peugeut's 107, Citroen's C1 and the Toyota Aygo produced roughly half that number. The plant says revenues for the first year stand at 600 million euros, but representatives declined to announce real profit figures. The company did say that 99 percent of cars were being produced for export, with TPCA President Satoshi Takae rueing slow sales in the Czech Republic. On Thursday TPCA also showcased its employee incentives and benefits plan as well as plans for further integration and development in the Kolin region. Asked whether TPCA would make changes to adapt to, for example, Hyundai's entering the market - to counter any threat of departure of newly-trained employees - Mr Takae indicated that he was not worried. He said TPCA would stay its current course.

"We have no intention of playing the money game - to compete with labour conditions. We'll just continue our way, meaning communication with the unions and our workers based on mutual trust. I think we need a little bit of time to communicate and understand each other, but the direction is not 'wrong'. So, we don't need to create special conditions to adapt to Hyundai or Skoda."

Russia to invest part of oil profits in Czech Rep

Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, fresh off his meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Thursday has said that the Russian president has agreed his country will invest some profits from its high oil revenues in the Czech Republic. According to Mr Paroubek, areas slated for investment are primarily science and culture. The meeting between the prime minister and the Russian president generally focused on economic issues: last year Czech exports to Russia grew by 46 percent and were worth 4.3 billion dollars.

Fixed-line operator Cesky Telecom, subsidiary Eurotel, to merge as Telefonica O2

Cesky Telecom, the Czech telecommunications operator owned by Spain's Telefonica, announced this week it will merge its fixed-line business with its mobile communications subsidiary, Eurotel, to form a new group, Telefonica O2. The company plans on merging sales offices and customer service centres. Telefonica bought control of Cesky Telecom last year for 4.6 billion US dollars. Telefonica O2 faces increased competition on the converging Czech market. T-Mobile, owned by Deutsche Telekom has competed with Eurotel for the top spot among mobile operators. Vodafone is third, following its acquisition of Oskar Mobile from Canada-based TIW last year.

Central European Media Enterprises (CME) revenues rise 120 percent year-on-year

Central European Media Enterprises, or CME, which owns the country's most successful commercial broadcaster TV Nova as well as Galaxie Sport, has announced a 120 percent rise in revenues year-on-year, with net profits amounting to over 42 million dollars US. CME reacquired the successful TV Nova in 2004, after it has lost its stake in the 1990s in a protected legal battle with former media mogul and current MEP Vladimir Zelezny. Nova's success has overshadowed gains by the company's stake in broadcasters in Ukraine and Romania.

Czech Savings Bank expects its profits in 2006 to grow by more than 10 percent

According to non-audited results, Ceska sporitelna, the Czech Savings Bank, recorded a net profit of 9.13 billion crowns last year, up more than 12 percent from 2004. In 2006 the bank will accelerate revenue growth through loan and transaction volume growth, says the bank's chief executive Jack Stack. Stack also said that he does not think the Czech customer is over-indebted and that consumers and companies will be able to absorb a further growth in loans.

Association: Foreigners a growing factor in domestic beer consumption

Loni každý Čech včetně novorozeňat a malých dětí v průměru vypil 160 litrů piva.
The Czech Beer and Malt Association has revealed that a growing number of foreign visitors are an increasing factor in domestic beer consumption. Last year, tourists accounted for between 15 - 20 percent of the total 16 million hectolitres of beer consumed on Czech soil. Domestic beer consumption has long hovered at an average 160 litres per head - and tourists reportedly average 24 to 31 litres. Frantisek Krakes, chairman of the Czech Beer and Malt Association has remarked that beer drinking ranks just behind historic sites and cultural events as one of the more important reasons tourists visit.