Business News

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In this week’s Business News: An internet website focussing on bank fees reports Czech banks charge hundreds of millions in fees per day; the new ‘super employment office’ – aimed at saving operational costs – begins operation; Czech national carrier ČSA ends a codesharing contract with Air France; energy giant ČEZ reports the temporary shutting down of a unit at the Dukovany nuclear power plant; and Škoda Auto places eighth in a UK warranty company survey.

Website: banks charged more than 38 billion crowns in fees in 2010

Internet website poplatky.cz – specialising in bank fees – has revealed that in 2010 Czech banks charged a record 38 billion crowns in bank fees. According its analysis, every second banks charged 1,216 crowns per person – a 60 crown increase from the previous year – in all more than 100 million crowns per day. The website’s Patrik Nacher said the last time fees had seen a similar such increase was in 2006/2007. Several large banks only recently announced they would waive some client account fees, depending on account volume and turnover.

Employment ‘super bureau’ begins operation

A new ‘super’ Employment Bureau begins operation in the Czech Republic in April, connecting 77 offices which have existed until now. The move is part of the government’s plan to cut spending by streamlining bureaucracy concerning the payout of unemployment and other social benefits. The bureau will effectively take over some competencies until now held by local town halls. The labour minister, Jaromír Drábek, stressed that despite the restructuring, users would not notice the changes, continuing to communicate through some 409 local branches. The new ‘super bureau’, the minister estimated, will save the state some 180 million crowns in operational costs.

ČSA ends codesharing contract with Air France

Czech national carrier ČSA ended a codesharing contract with Air France a spokeswoman confirmed this week as ČSA undergoes restructuring. Hana Hejsková said that the airline had reassessed several of its commercial contracts as it prepared its summer timetable: in specific cases, including the routes between Prague and Paris, Strasbourg and Marseille, ČSA has decided to operate flights using its own planes only. Ms Hejsková stressed that the state-controlled Czech carrier was not slamming the door of the SkyTeam airline alliance, in which Air France is a key player.

Škoda Auto places 8th in automobile manufacturer ratings

The Czech Republic’s largest carmaker Škoda Auto has placed 8th in automobile manufacturer ratings featured in the UK Reliability Index. The Index is issued by the UK’s extended-warranty provider Warranty Direct, which covers cars 3 – 10 years of age. Factored into the survey are all elements of repairs on vehicles, from the cost of parts to the frequency of failures. Škoda placed top among European manufacturers; Chevrolet, Honda, Suzuki finished in first through third spot.

Dukovany nuclear plant to temporarily shut down unit

The Czech energy giant ČEZ reported on Friday that it will have to temporarily shut down a 456 megawatt unit (Unit 4) at the Dukovany nuclear power station due to the repair of leaking piping in the containment area. In a statement the company said the leak in vent piping would require a cooling down of the unit and depressurisation. The length of the shutdown will be determined after tests are run at the weekend.