Business News

Škoda Fabia

In this week’s Business News: Škoda Auto steps up profits, Sazka runs out of chances; cash claw back threat for Skanska; Czech Airlines pares back losses; and a new departure for Prague airport.

Profits trebled compared with 2009

Škoda Fabia
The Czech Republic’s biggest car maker Škoda Auto has announced a more than trebling of 2010 profits compared with 2009. Profits came in at 349 million euros against the 110 million racked up a year earlier. The car maker’s total turnover rose almost a quarter year on year with sales of cars climbing 11.5 percent to reach a record 763,000 cars. Around half of the profits will go to parent company, Volkswagen. Škoda Auto says it will launch a new city car model this year and a new car next year aimed at filling a gap between its bottom of the range Fabia and mid-range Octavia.

Lottery payouts pending as Sazka seeks change of fortune

Photo: CTK
There has been a lot more turbulence this week at lottery company Sazka. Company management reportedly called for clearance not to make major payouts to winners amid news that January’s jackpot winner of over 100 million crowns is still waiting for the cash. The demand was refused by the insolvency administrator brought in to try and sort out the company’s growing financial crisis. Moves for the management to be sacked and a new investor to be brought in failed at an extraordinary meeting. Meanwhile, unions at the betting giant have warned of strike action because they fear for their jobs. The company is facing a mounting crisis after being landed with paying for the sports hall built when Prague hosted the world ice hockey championships in 2004.

Transport minister warns main raod builder of 1.0 billion crown claim

'Built by Skanska',  photo: CTK
Minister of Transport Vít Bárta is getting tough and personal with the country’s biggest road builder, Skanska. He has put a 1.0 billion crown price tag on the bill for sloppy and shoddy work he claims the company delivered on some motorways and roads. Mr. Bárta said his predecessors in the post were dim wits who were easy to shake down but he will not be a pushover. The Czech branch of the Swedish building giant says it is shocked by the accusation. Figures from the national highway authority put Skanska out in the lead as the biggest roads contractor last year with orders topping 819 million crowns.

Slimmed down airline cuts losses

State carrier Czech Airlines has cut its 2010 operating losses to around a third of their level a year earlier after a radical slim down and sale of assets. The Dnes newspaper says losses have been cut to 1.1 billion crowns from 3.2 billion in 2009. The airline’s earnings were pared back to 16.0 billion crowns from 19.7 billion. The airline, which is waiting for European clearance for a restructuring package combining it with the company managing Prague airport, is expected to come out with its fully audited results in May.

Flights of fancy

Václav Havel international airport,  photo: archive of Radio Prague
Staying with the airline industry, some good news for those delayed at Prague airport ― a 60-seat cinema is to open at one of the terminals in April showing full length Czech and foreign films. Even better news in the rather expensive airport environment is that entrance will be free, paid for by adverts accompanying the films. Central Europe’s biggest airport is not exactly a leader here with continental Europe’s leading airport, Frankfurt, for many years already offering a mainstream and sex cinema for passers through.