Business News


In this week’s Business News: state companies face screening; competition office seeks to weed out spurious complaints; a Czech aircraft maker ties a trans-Atlantic deal; Czechs top regional savings league; and taxi drivers take new road.

Bosses of state-controlled companies face screening

Experts are due to start screening the top bosses and board members of state firms next week. The checks are part of a government clampdown aimed at establishing whether top managers are being overpaid and if the many political appointees on supervisory boards are competent. So-called ‘fat cat’ wages of some managers, twinned with generous share option programmes and rewards for managers and board members, have come under fire in recent years. The government now wants to abolish such motivation programmes, make sure top managers’ wages are in line with those in other countries and ensure that only competent experts serve on boards. The experts are due to deliver their conclusions in April.

Competition watchdog stirs protest with complaints proposal

Illustrative photo: Barbora Němcová
Moves by the Czech competition watchdog to cut down on its workload by discouraging devious and time-wasting complaints have evoked a mixed response. The Office for the Protection of Competition wants those lodging complaints about the award of public contracts to place deposits of up to 100,000 crowns, around 5,400 US dollars. It says complaints are sometimes made or threatened just to get money out of the companies which have won contracts. But lawyers and representatives of small companies warn the new move could prevent legitimate complaints.

Czech aircraft maker seals strategic deal with world leader

One of the last survivors of the once flourishing Czech aircraft manufacturing industry has sealed a strategic partnership. Light aircraft producer Czech Sport Aircraft has teamed up with one of the world’s biggest companies in the sector, US-based Piper Aircraft. The deal means that Czech Sport will build a range of small training aircraft under license for Piper, which will sell them through its worldwide network. The Czech manufacturer based at Kunovice has struggled in recent years and was thrown a lifeline last year when a regional investment company bought a controlling stake.

Czechs top regional savings league

Czech households have the best savings profile in the region, according to a survey released by the UniCredit Bank. It found that net savings by households climbed last year to represent more than 42 percent of Gross Domestic Product. The banks says the trend of more money on savings accounts is set to continue this year and in 2011, but the rate of growth will not exceed 6.0 percent a year. It points out, however, that one weak point of the Czech savings profile is the slow uptake of pensions funds.

Taxi drivers take new road

Prague taxi drivers, a group that has hardly improved the Czech capital’s allure for tourists, are apparently cleaning up their image. That at least is the finding of Prague City Council, which is supposed to keep tabs on rogue drivers. The council says only 1.25 percent of drivers last year overcharged passengers. That compares with a third of drivers overcharging eight years ago. The Czech Tourist Authority says taxi drivers’ image is improving year on year but there is still a long history of bad press to overcome.