Business News

Photo: archive of Radio Prague

In Business News this week: government plans to tighten rules for firms bidding for public contracts; Parliament releases parties’ accounts for 2012; Telefónica considers selling stake in Czech division; new film incentives programme attracts foreign productions; women’s salaries grow faster than men’s; and every other Czech would struggle to pay unexpected expenses of 15,000 crowns.

Government to tighten rules for firms competing for public contracts

Illustrative photo: Jiří Janíček,  Wikimedia Commons,  CC BY-SA 3.0
As part of ongoing efforts to curb corruption in public procurement, the Czech Ministry for Regional Development is planning to tighten the rules for companies competing for public sector contracts, the daily E15 reported on Friday. A new bill being prepared by the ministry would require all firms applying for public contracts to reveal their owners. This would also apply to all their sub-contractors. If approved, this regulation will go further than new government legislation requiring companies owned through bearer shares to register them with the authorities.

Parliament releases parties’ accounts for 2012

Photo: CTK
The Czech Parliament on Thursday released the accounts of the political parties. The coalition Civic Democrats had the largest loss, of 43 million crowns, while the opposition Social Democrats had a deficit of 16 million crowns. Public Affairs were two million crowns in the black and the Communists had a 42,000 crowns surplus. The records also show that the Civic Democrats received contributions from over 1,000 donors, far exceeding all the other parties in this respect; the biggest of them was ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr, who gave the party 8 million crowns.

Spain’s Telefónica considers selling part of Czech division

Photo: Kristýna Maková
The debt-stricken Spanish telecommunications company Telefónica is considering selling part of its Czech division, the Bloomberg news agency reported this week. The Spanish firm is planning to sell a 19-percent stake in Telefónica Czech Republic to raise one billion euro to reduce its debts. The Czech division is reportedly high on the list along with the firm’s Irish branch, its stake in China’s second largest mobile phone operator Unicom, along with assets in several Central American countries, Bloomberg said. While the Spanish firm plans to keep a majority stake its Czech division, its shares dropped upon the news to the lowest level in nine years.

International film productions return to Czech Republic

Photo: Christian Wagner,  stock.XCHNG
International film productions have returned to the Czech Republic after a new incentives programme was approved by the lower house at the end of last year, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported. Some 500 million crowns, or around 25 million US dollars, was earmarked in the state budget for the programme which allows film productions to get 20 percent of their costs back. The list of applicants, as released by the state film fund, includes director Ridley Scott, who is planning to shoot thriller Child 44 in the Czech Republic, Jennifer Lynch with her film A Fall from Grace, as well as the first part of the Fallen Saga.

Women’s salaries grow faster than men’s

Photo: Tomáš Adamec,  Czech Radio
On average, women’s salaries in the Czech Republic are around 20 percent lower than those of men. But the salaries of women in both the private and public sector last year registered a higher increase than men’s, according to figures released by the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry this week. In the public sector, women’s median income grew by 2.6 percent to reach over 23,000 crowns before tax, while men’s only rose by around one percent to over 26,000 crowns. This, according to analysts, was due to pay hikes in the health care and education sectors. In the private sector, women’s median salaries increased by 2.3 percent, while those of men rose by 1.3 percent. Real wages for both men and women, however, decreased last year by 0.6 percent.

“Half of Czechs” would struggle with unexpected expenses of 15,000 crowns

Photo: Barbora Kmentová
Around half of Czechs would run into serious problems if they had to cover unexpected expenses of 15,000 crowns, or just over 750 US dollars, according to a survey commissioned by the loans firm Provident Finance. Meanwhile, some 28 percent of those polled said they would be unable to pay that kind of money. The poll also shows that Last year, nearly two thirds of Czechs curbed their spending due to a prolonged decrease in real salaries, rising unemployment and general uncertainty regarding future economic conditions. This in turn has taken a toll on the Czech economy which has been in recession for over a year, with depressed domestic spending seen as one of the main factors.