Business News

Photo: Vitali Smolygin / Public Domain Pictures

In Business News this week: Czech economy grows by 4.2 percent year on year in first quarter; Škoda Auto receives 49-million-crown fine for fixing margins with distributors; employment rate is lowest in 22 years; and over 50 percent of Czechs favour restricting shopping hours.

Czech economy grows by 4.2 percent in first quarter

Photo: Vitali Smolygin / Public Domain Pictures
The Czech economy grew by 4.2 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2015, which is an improvement by 0.3 percent against a preliminary estimate from mid-May, the Czech Statistical Office announced this week. GDP expanded by 3.1 percent compared with last quarter of 2014. According to data from the Czech Statistical Office, the year on year increase is the highest since the last quarter of 2007, when the economy grew by 5.3 percent year-on-year.

Škoda Auto fined 49 million for fixing margins with distributors

Photo: Škoda Auto
The Czech anti-monopoly office has fined Škoda Auto, owned by German car giant Volkswagen, 49 million crowns for fixing margins with distributors in the years 2011 and 2012. The fine was imposed in December but the office only made the announcement on Thursday. The public release was postponed due to confidential information, a spokeswoman for the anti-monopoly office has said. Škoda Auto employs around 24,000 people and is the biggest car producer in the country. Last year it made a record profit of 817 million euros.

Employment rate is lowest in 22 years

Photo: Filip Jandourek
The employment rate in the Czech Republic in April reached 69.8 percent of those of working age, which is the lowest in 22 years, the Czech Statistical Office reported. The number of Czechs in work now exceeds 4.9 million, the highest number since January 1993. The increase has been fuelled mainly by economic growth, which in the first quarter of this year increased to 4.2 percent compared with the same period a year earlier. The number of employed women has also reached a record high, exceeding 62 percent of the potential female workforce.

Czech Airlines slashed losses last to 631 million crowns last year

Photo: Tomáš Adamec
Czech carrier Czech Airlines slashed their losses last year by nearly a third to 631 million crowns. Meanwhile, CSA’s operating losses were cut from over 1 billion crowns to 518 million last year. Czech Airlines’ passenger numbers dropped by a fifth to 2.27 million last year, mainly due to the situation in Ukraine. The company’s revenues decreased 6.5 percent to 9.5 billion crowns, the daily E15 wrote on Thursday.

Over 50 percent of Czechs favour restricting shopping hours

Photo: Eva Odstrčilová
Some 51 percent of Czechs agree with a restriction on shopping hours in large shops on public holidays, according to an on-line survey carried out by Czech National Panel Society. Some 44 percent said there was no reason to change current legislation. Those in favour of the restriction are people between 25 and 34 years of age, while people between the age of 18 and 24 are mostly against. Three quarters of respondents said they wouldn’t mind if supermarkets and shopping mall were closed on Sundays. The Senate approved bill, under which all large stores would have to close on all public holidays, including Christmas and Easter, is to be debated by the lower house in the coming months.