Business News

Temelín nuclear power plant

In Business News: A Russian consortium is reportedly the most likely to win an upcoming tender on the expansion of the Temelín nuclear power plant; sources report an uptick in Russian FDI; Czech Railways announces the aim to sell off property worth 90 million crowns; the first Škoda Citigo – a new small vehicle intended for zipping in-and-out of city traffic –rolls off the assembly line; and, the transport minister proposes a new fee for vanity licence plates.

Source claims Russian consortium has edge in Temelín bid

There is new speculation that the Russian consortium of Atomstroyexport, reactor manufacturer Gidropress, and the Russian-owned Czech nuclear engineering firm Škoda JS is most likely to secure a tender on the expansion of the country’s Temelín nuclear power plant. The deal is worth an estimated 500 billion crowns and is to take place next year. An anonymous source who claimed access to a classified report by the Czech intelligence agency BIS, told news website the Russians were offering “know-how and maximum participation” although security concerns remain. According to the source, the report cited French firm Areva as being “out of the game”. If true, only the US-based firm Westinghouse will remain the major contender, one reason, the source suggests, Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas was invited to the Washington this month to meet with President Barack Obama.

The Czech government’s commissioner for the Temelín expansion, Václav Bartuška, meanwhile, has confirmed that documentation about the deal will be sent to the three potential bidders. Offers are to be submitted next summer and the winner is to be announced in 2013.

Press: Russian investment sees uptick

This week sources reported that Russian Foreign Direct Investment in the former communist bloc has seen an uptick, with the Czech Republic being among those benefitting significantly. The English-language weekly the Prague Post cited investment advisors as saying they had seen increased interest in traditional sectors as well emerging fields. While Russian investment in the Czech Republic is relatively small compared to some areas, some have suggested that the numbers are misleading, with funds being routed from tax havens and that the apparent uptick in portfolio levels could be a sign of bigger things to come. Most often Russian direct investment has ties to real estate, such as projects in Karlovy Vary. But areas which are reportedly increasingly attractive include bio and nanotechnology.

Czech Railways to sell 90 million crowns worth of property

Illustrative photo
Czech Railways has reported it will sell off property – including storage areas and older buildings, along with other unneeded assets – worth an estimated 90 million crowns. Four thousand buildings and land reportedly make up the sale. The company is currently holding a tender to find a strategic partner to orchestrate the sale. The winner of the tender should be known next February and will be expected to come up with a viable strategy. The property that the company wants to sell off currently costs Czech Railways some 240 million annually in maintenance and upkeep.

First Citigo rolls off production line

Photo: CTK
The first Škoda Citigo – a new small vehicle intended for zipping through city traffic as well as easy parking – has rolled off the assembly line in neighbouring Slovakia, only the second Škoda model to first be manufactured abroad, following the Rapid in India. The three-door Citigo will be launched on the Czech market in late 2011, while other European countries will see its arrival in the summer of next year. A five-door version will also be available in 2012. Škoda Auto has called the Citigo one of the “pillars of its growth strategy”, paving the way for the company into the small cars market. The firm has boasted that despite its small size, the car offers more than enough legroom; the firm, not surprisingly, has also called its newest family member “highly agile”.

Vanity licence plates may be available for 5,000 crown fee

Speaking of cars or motoring, the Transport Minister Pavel Dobeš has proposed that so-called vanity licence plates in the Czech Republic be made available for 5,000 crowns (the equivalent of around 280 US dollars). Until now, observers say, the process of users getting special plates they wanted was highly non-transparent. The draft amendment proposing the changes, meanwhile, if passed, will raise other costs and small fees for car owners – among them the cost of replacement plates ripped-off or lost: a fee of 600 crowns.