Business News

Photo: Filip Jandourek

In Business: Czech financial institutions revise down their economic growth forecasts for this year, the government favours nuclear and coal power in its long-term energy plan, the forex interventions launched by the Czech National Bank last year have attracted more foreign visitors to the Czech Republic and the largest Czech hotel – Hilton Prague - has been put up for sale.

Predictions of economic growth more sober

Photo: Vitali Smolygin / Public Domain Pictures
The European Commission this week released its economic growth forecast for the Czech Republic which predicts a growth of 2.5 percent for 2014 and 2.7 percent for the next two years. In recent days Czech institutions, which previously issued more optimistic growth forecasts have revised them down sharply. On Thursday the Czech Central Bank revised its economic growth forecast for 2014 down to 2.5 from its previous July estimate of 2.9 percent. Next year’s growth which it previously estimated at 3.0 percent was also revised down to 2.5 percent. The Finance Ministry issued an even more sober estimate bringing its economic growth forecast for this year down from 2.7 to 2.4 percent.

Government favours mix of nuclear energy and coal power

Photo: Filip Jandourek
The government wants to push through a long-term energy plan based on nuclear and coal power, Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mladek told Czech Television this week. Mr. Mládek said the cabinet did not want to go down the route of gas-fuelled power stations or large scale support of renewable resources which would be expensive and a burden on tax-payers. The government’s draft energy concept is based on the development of nuclear power and the use of brown coal while respecting mining limits. The government is due to discuss the energy plan before the end of the year.

Komercní Banka reviewing its dividend policy

Photo: Filip Jandourek
Czech lender Komercní Banka is reviewing its dividend policy to pay out more than 70 percent of its profit and is looking at a range going up to 100 percent, the Reuters news agency reports. The Czech Republic's third-biggest bank by assets, majority owned by Societe Generale, said earlier its capital adequacy stood at 17.1 percent - above its target of 15-16 percent - and repeated it was reviewing its dividend guidance of paying out 60-70 percent of net profit.

Forex interventions bring more foreign visitors

Tourists at Prague Castle | Photo: Kristýna Maková,  Radio Prague International
The forex interventions launched by the Czech National Bank last year, in order to weaken the crown, have brought a higher number of tourists to the Czech Republic. In the first two quarters of 2014 the number of tourists from neighbouring countries rose on average from 6 to 10 percent, with the highest number of visitors from Germany, Austria and Slovakia. However the interventions negatively affected the profit margins of travel agencies.

Retail sales growth accelerated in September

Photo: Kristýna Maková
Czech retail sales growth accelerated more than expected in September, according to data released by the Czech Statistics Office. Retail sales increased at a pace of 6.2 percent year-on-year in September after rising 2.7 percent a month ago. Economists had forecast a 5.3 percent rise for September. On a monthly basis, sales gained 0.3 percent.

Hilton Prague up for sale

Hilton Prague,  photo: archive of Radio Prague
Hilton Prague, the largest Czech hotel with 791 rooms, has been put up for sale. Avid Asset Management, the current owner of the hotel, empowered the real estate firm JLL to mediate the deal. The asking price was not disclosed. The new owner will be able to change the name of the hotel. With over 7,000 square metres of meeting space, Hilton Prague ranks among the largest conference hotels in Central and Eastern Europe.