Business News

Illustrative photo: Vitali Smolygin,

In this week’s Business News: Czech Republic is wealthiest post-communist EU country; more state funds promised for local filmmakers; US chopper firm gets cosy with Czech company; free carriages to be offered to rail companies; and state broadcaster threatened with fine for promoting fast food giant.

Czechs overtake Slovenes in wealth stakes

Illustrative photo: Vitali Smolygin,
The Czech Republic has leapfrogged Slovenia to become the wealthiest post-Communist state in the European Union. The Czech Republic now has a slender lead over Slovenia both in terms of actual individual consumption - a measure of household wealth - and Gross Domestic Product per person. Czechs scored 75 to Slovenia’s 74 on the first measure and 84 to 83 on the second, according to the latest June figures from the European statistics office. The EU average is 100. Slovenia for long led the field as the most developed part of former Yugoslavia.

Stepped up state funds for local films

Photo: Christian Wagner,  stock.XCHNG
The government is preparing to offer Czech filmmakers more state money. In a meeting with prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka and culture minister Daniel Herman filmmakers were promised that around 180 million crowns a year could be set aside for them. Combined with payments earmarked for filmmakers from private sources, mostly commercial television companies, this could amount to around 360 million crowns a year. Czech filmmakers say they have some of the strongest local audience figures for domestic films in Europe but often do not have the financing to increase output.

Bell Helicopters seals LOM deal

Illustrative photo: Wassili Simin,  Free Domain
US company Bell Helicopter has a signed a contract with Czech firm LOM Praha under which it will undertake services, alterations, and improvements for its military helicopters across the whole of Central Europe. Czech state owned company LOM currently mainly specialises in repairs and modernisation of Russian helicopters. Bell Helicopter says it is hoping to land a Czech army contract for 12 multipurpose helicopters which would replace ageing Russian models.

Free rail carriages on track

Photo: Filip Jandourek
The Czech state is to offer rail carriages for free to firms which win contracts for operating subsidized regional passenger routes under plans being drawn up by the Ministry of Transport. The ministry would claim 85 percent of the costs of providing the carriages from European Union funds and meet the rest of the costs through state funds. The purchases of just over 12 billion crowns worth of carriages is being interpreted as one way of pumping European funds. Private as well as the state owned passenger rail company, Czech Railways, could benefit from the offer.

Fine threatened over fast food placement

Photo: archive of Radio Prague
And finally public broadcaster Czech Television looks like it could have got into trouble for what appears to be some pretty blatant product placement advertising. The national broadcasting watchdog is investigating how one of the moderators of an afternoon hockey program was shown passing the fast food giant McDonald’s tent with a hamburger and chips and offered her a chip as she tried to present the show. A fine of 2.5 million crowns could follow.