Business News

Photo: ČEZ

In this week’s business news: The Czech Republic will have to build around 13 000 charging points for electric cars by 2020; The greatest number of foreign investors have decided to enter the Czech market last year since the beginning of the economic crisis; ČEZ’s distribution license in Albania has been revokes by the government there; Czech government debt is the eighth lowest in the whole of the EU; Budvar was unable to stop rival Anheuser-Busch from having the right to register the ‘Bud’ trademark in Europe.

EU wants more electric charging points

Photo: ČEZ
The word from Brussels this week is that by 2020 an electric car should be able to drive from one end of the European Union to the other. This means drastically increasing the number of electric charging stations. The European Commission wants the Czech Republic to have at least 13 thousand charging points in less than ten years time. Currently, you can find just a few dozen places in this country where it is possible to charge your electric car. In neighboring Germany there are already around 2,000 charging stations, but their quota for 2020 is 150 thousand.

Czech Republic attracted greatest number of investors since 2008

Photo: European Commission
It seems that the Czech government’s attempt to revive interest of foreign investors by improving tax cuts and benefits last year has paid off. According to the financial daily Hospodářské noviny, the Czech Republic was able to attract 48 new companies to the country in 2012, which is the highest number of new foreign investors since the financial crisis began in 2008. The total cost of the projects registered with government agency CzechInvest was around 20 billion crowns. The companies have promised to create around five and a half thousand new jobs. Hospodářské noviny reported that the increase in the number and size of the investments is most likely due to the improvements in the tax code that came into effect mid-year, which allows for more tax benefits for companies.

Albania revokes local license for ČEZ

ČEZ office in Tirana,  Albania,  photo: CTK
Three years after the Czech state-owned energy giant ČEZ entered the Albanian market, the local authorities revoked its distribution license, after months of haggling and threats. The Albanian government is also accusing ČEZ of failing to import electricity into the country and not investing in its power grid. The company began losing money already last year in Albania, after the government introduced stricter regulations that drastically curbed their profits. ČEZ is considering filing an arbitration case against the Albanian government, claiming that the authorities broke both international and Albanian laws. It has calculated its losses in the Balkan country to around 5 billion crowns.

Czech government debt eighth lowest in the EU

Photo: archive of ČRo 7 - Radio Prague
According to figures released by the European statistics office Eurostat, the government debt in the Czech Republic was 44.9% of the GDP at the end of last year. This is the eighth lowest government debt of all the EU countries. For the whole of the European Union, government debt was 85.1% in 2012, while for the Eurozone it was a whopping 90%. Although Czechs are doing quite well in comparison to the rest of the club, the government debt did rise last year by around five percentage points, which is the seventh quickest increase in the EU. The Finance Ministry is predicting that the debt should keep rising at least until 2015, when it is expected to reach around 49%.

Anheuser-Busch nips EU trademark case in the ‘Bud’

Photo: Budějovický Budvar
After a landmark victory in the UK last week, the Czech beer producer Budvar has lost a major case to its long-time American rival Anheuser-Busch Inbev at the Luxembourg-based General Court of the European Union. The second-highest EU court rejected Budvar’s appeal to stop Anheuser-Busch from registering the ‘Bud’ trademark in the European Union. Budvar representative said that the court’s decision doesn’t limit the Czech company from using the same term in the countries where it has already registered it. The Czech side is planning to appeal the verdict.