Business News


In today’s business news: Czech Railways has released an estimate of the damages that the strike caused the company, Prague’s taxi drivers and hotel owners benefit from the transport strike, the metallurgical company ArcelorMittal Ostrava sees profits of 758 million Czech crowns, the Finance Ministry has halted its administrative proceedings against the betting giant Sazka and the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey predicts an increase of employment opportunities by 3 percent in the next quarter.

Czech Railways estimates damages of caused by strike to amount to 70 million Czech crowns

Following a day-long nationwide transport strike on Thursday, Czech Railways released an estimate of the damages the strike caused the company, amounting to 70 million Czech crowns. The figure includes losses in ticket sales as well as fees that the company would have received from other railways operators had their trains been running. Czech Railways’ sister company ČD Cargo estimates its losses from the strike to reach about 57 million Czech crowns. Czech Railways operates roughly 7000 connections daily, with some 500,000 passengers travelling on its trains every day. In the first quarter of 2011, the company’s profits grew by four million crowns year-on-year.

Taxi drivers and hotel owners benefit from transport strike

Photo: Kristýna Maková
In related news, Prague taxi drivers and hotel owners were among those who profited from Thursday’s transport strike. Some of the city’s taxi companies saw their profits increase fivefold on Thursday; most saw a growth in profits of ten percent and more. The Prague taxi company AAA Radiotaxi evidenced a customer increase of about 30 percent, with some 600 of its taxis operating on Prague’s streets on Thursday. In addition, in an effort to avert transportation problems on Thursday, some of the country’s bankers and businessmen spent the night in hotels near their workplace rather than at home.

Metallurgical company ArcelorMittal Ostrava sees profits of 758 million Czech crowns

ArcelorMittal Ostrava, the largest metallurgical company in the Czech Republic, in 2010 made a profit of 758 million Czech crowns, after evidencing losses of 1 billion Czech crowns in the previous year, when the global financial crisis hit the metal industry. In 2010, the company saw an increase in demand and adjusted its production accordingly. ArcelorMittal Ostrava’s revenue grew from 7.5 to 29.5 billion crowns year-on-year. Last year, ArcelorMittal Ostrava increased its production by 16 percent to 1.94 million tons of raw steel. According to the company’s general director, the metallurgical sector is slowly recovering from the financial crisis; however, production levels are still much lower than they were before the global financial meltdown.

Finance Ministry halts administrative proceedings against betting giant Sazka

Photo: Marián Vojtek
The Finance Ministry has stopped its administrative proceedings against the betting giant Sazka. The bankrupt company paid back the 67 million crowns in administrative fees that it owed the state, therefore, it is no longer under the threat of losing a number of its licenses, including its lottery and video lottery terminal licenses. In related news, on Thursday, the CEO of the company, Aleš Hušák, was officially dismissed from his post on Thursday. According to the company’s spokeswoman, he will not receive a severance package. The former CEO last week appealed against a decision of a Prague court to declare bankruptcy on Sazka.

Sazka has run into solvency problems mainly due to repayments for a giant sports hall, the O2 Arena, built in Prague in 2004 for the world ice hockey championships. The Municipal Court of Prague declared the company bankrupt in late March.

Manpower survey finds increase of employment opportunities by 3 percent

According to the fresh Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, a quarterly poll conducted by a leading company in the employment services industry, employment opportunities will increase by three percent in the third quarter of 2011. It suggests that some 20 percent of Czech companies have a hard time finding qualified employees. The poll, conducted among 750 companies in late April, indicates that employers across the country are planning to do more hiring than firing in the third quarter of this year. While some six percent of companies polled expect an increase in their staff, three percent predict a drop and 90 percent say that they do not expect any significant changes to their workforce. The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey has been running for more than 45 years and aims at measuring employers’ intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforce in the upcoming quarter.