Business News

Photo: archive of CRo 7 - Radio Prague

In Business News: energy giant ČEZ posts a 27 percent increase in profits in first three quarters of 2012; government savings bonds selling fast; unemployment in the Czech Republic rises to 8.5 percent; the first Czech branch of the Bank of Investment and Development of Vietnam opens in Prague.

ČEZ posts a 27-percent increase in profits year-on-year in the first three quarters of 2012

Photo: archive of CRo 7 - Radio Prague
ČEZ, the Czech Republic’s largest energy producer, posted net profits of 33.4 billion crowns in the first three-quarters of 2012 – an increase of 27 percent year-on-year. Overall revenues year-on-year rose by eight percent to 162.5 billion crowns. Factors in the increase included a boost in production in nuclear energy – bringing an additional 1.7 billion, and growth in wind power production in Romanian plants, where the ČEZ Group has a stake. By contrast, the energy giant suffered a downturn in Albania, where the firm is at odds with the government over distribution networks. There, the company posted losses of 4 billion. ČEZ’s general director Daniel Beneš has already suggested the firm will back out of the Albanian market and the company has frozen all financing for its subsidiary there, saying it would not receive a single additional crown.

Czech saving bonds orders hit 8.1 billion crowns after one day

Photo: Barbora Kmentová
The nominal value of orders for pre-Christmas issue of government saving bonds hit 8.1 billion crowns this week only a day-and-a-half after their sale was launched. The information was made public on Tuesday on the Finance Ministry's profile on Facebook. The Finance Ministry said earlier that a sale of 10 billion or more would be considered a success. The ministry is accepting bonds throughout the month of November at more than 1,400 outlets around the country, including banks and the country’s postal services operator, Česká pošta. The ministry, if it chooses, can shorten the period of time for the bond offer. The last issue of government saving bonds, in May of 2012, saw orders worth a nominal 3.8 billion crowns on the first day. Analysts have described the demand for government savings bonds as being driven by a relatively high yield tied to low risk.

Unemployment rose in October to 8.5%

Photo: European Commission
Unemployment in the Czech Republic rose to 8.5% in October, according to the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry which released new figures on Thursday. There were approximately 3,500 more people without work than in the previous month, and the number of job vacancies decreased by two tenths of a percentage point. The ministry said that the unemployed made up 6.7% of the country’s population. The main problem, according to analysts, is the low job creation rate. The Ústí nad Labem region had the highest unemployment rate in October of 13.2%, while the lowest was in Prague as expected, where the rate has hovered at 4.4% for the second straight month.

First Vietnamese bank opens branch in Prague

Illustrative photo: Eva Odstrčilová
The first Czech branch of the Bank of Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) opened in Prague this week. The state-owned bank is seeking to support investments and trade between Vietnam and the Czech Republic. BIDV is the second largest bank in Vietnam in assets, worth 18.8 billion American dollars, and number one in bank income. The new branch will offer banking, insurance, investment and brokerage services. Besides attracting interest from Czech businessmen and women hoping to start comapnies or otherwise invest in Vietnam, the institution is expected to be a welcome option for the 57-thousand-strong Vietnamese community living in the Czech Republic.

Tourist numbers 10 percent higher in July – September

Photo: archive of CRo 7 - Radio Prague
Czech accommodation facilities registered 4.9 million guests in Q3 this year, 10 percent more in annual terms, and the number of overnight stays rose by 7.8 percent to 15.3 million, the Czech Statistical Office revealed this week. The number of foreign tourists increased by 11.2 percent in the July-September period, and the number of their overnight stays posted an annual hike of 12.6 percent. The highest numbers of tourists over the period were from Germany, while Russians made up the second-largest group.