Business News

Photo: Tomáš Adamec

In the Business News this week: Korean Air completes deal for 44-percent stake in CŠA; jobless rate falls for first time in nine months, but only slightly; labour costs in Czech Republic are below half EU average; car production slows; mobile operators are offering new low monthly prices for unlimited calls; and forest owners want state compensation for recreational use of land.

Korean Airs completes purchase of 44-percent stake in CŠA

Photo: Tomáš Adamec
Korean Air this week completed a deal to take a 44-percent stake in Czech Airlines or CŠA, offering the loss-making carrier a new lease of life and giving the South Korean company a greater presence in Europe. The Czech minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, said the Czech side had had only two options: finding a strategic partner, or considering the liquidation of the state-owned airline.

Jobless rate falls but only slightly

Photo: Filip Jandourek
The jobless rate in the Czech Republic fell to 8.0 percent in March from 8.1 percent the previous month, according to official figures released this week. It was the first decline in unemployment for nine months. Nevertheless, the country is going through its longest ever recession and analysts say the slight decline was down to seasonal factors and not a cause for rejoicing.

Average labour cost in Czech Republic less than half EU average

Photo: Kristýna Maková,  Czech Radio
The hourly average labour cost in the Czech Republic is less than half the average for the European Union, according to figures released this week by Eurostat. In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, it cost an average of 10.6 euros an hour to employ a Czech worker, compared to 23.4 euros an hour in the EU as a whole and 28.0 an hour in the 17 states where the single currency is used. In compiling the figures, Eurostat counted firms with 10 or more employees but excluded those working in agriculture and the public administration.

Auto industry sees decline in output in first quarter

Photo: CTK
While the automobile industry has been a key motor of the Czech economy in recent years, production is now falling, Hospodářské noviny reported this week. Output decreased by 18 percent in the first quarter of this year, the newspaper said, citing manufacturers. The biggest single decline was at the Toyota Peugeot Citroen Automobile Czech plant in Kolín, Central Bohemia, which recorded a fall of 24 percent between the beginning of January and the end of March.

Mobile operators offering attractive deals for unlimited calls

Photo: Barbora Kmentová
There was good news this week for mobile phone users in the Czech Republic who make a lot of calls, as they can now expect significantly lower bills. Telefonica started a trend by offering unlimited calls to all networks and 1GB of data for those on a two-year contract for its O2 service for CZK 750 a month, Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Friday. Vodafone then said it would offer a similar package for CZK 700, while T-Mobile is planning a similar step.

Forest owners want state compensation for recreational users

Photo: archive of Radio Prague
The owners of forests in the Czech Republic want financial compensation from the state for people using their land for recreational activities such as sports or picking fruit. The amount per hectare would be linked to the damages caused and the negative impact on the management of the wooded areas, the chairman of the Association of Municipal and Private Forest Owners, František Kučera, told the news website this week. However, Agriculture Minister Petr Bendl said the idea was out of the question.