Business News


In this week’s Business News: will the only offer for Czech Airlines fly?; Czech car manufacturers look to gloomy post-scrap incentive scenario; jewel giant quits market; computer sales slump; and a public appeal to turn in pirates.

Sole bid for Czech Airlines under evaluation

The biggest news of the week has been the unveiling of the bid for around 92 percent of Czech state-owned carrier Czech Airlines. The sole bidders for the struggling airline, Czech-Icelandic consortium ― Unimex and Travel Service ― tabled an offer of around a billion crowns or around 58 million USD. This is a lot lower than previous estimates of what the carrier’s sale could bring in and below Finance Minister Eduard Janota’s hopes of 2.0 or 3.0 billion crowns. In addition, the bidder has called a billion crowns of debt to be cleaned from Czech Airlines’ books before any takeover. The government should deliver its verdict on whether the sale can fly within two weeks.

Czech car makers look to post scrap incentive scenarios

Czech auto producers are gearing up for worse times as the boost given by new for old scrap car incentives in some European countries come to an end. The biggest producer, Škoda Auto, has announced it will cut production of the bottom of the range Fabia from 1,200 to 1,000 cars a month because of the ending of the German incentive. It will also cancel production for two days at the end of this month. There is also talk of the company reintroducing a four-day working week at the start of next year. Meanwhile, a fall of 8.1 percent in Czech industrial production in August has been seized on as good news following double digit declines throughout the rest of the year.

Jablonex quits jewellery production

One of the biggest Czech and global producers of jewellery, the Jablonex Group, has ended production of glass beads and other jewellery. Some of the group’s famous brands, such as Bijoux de Boheme, have been put up for sale and some production has been transferred to the Czech company Preciosa. The north Bohemian group has long complained about cheap competition from Asia but has recently been hit by a shortage of cash. The group was created from the merger of five firms in 2005 and at one time employed around 4,000 workers.

Notebooks shine amid gloomy computer sales

A study says Czech sales of computers have fallen by around a fifth in the second quarter of the year compared with the same period in 2008. This compares with a worldwide average fall of 3.1 percent. The one bright spot from the local figures is the strong demand for notebooks which accounted for more than half of the 172,000 computers sold. Women are reported to be among the main buyers. In spite of the fall, retailers are said to be reasonably happy. Margins on notebooks are higher than ordinary computers.

Software group calls for pirates to be turned in

And finally, a grouping of computer software producers has launched a campaign inviting Czech companies to turn in rivals using pirate software. The spokesman for the Business Software Alliance says that approaches from companies worried that they will suffer a competitive disadvantage if they buy legal software when rivals are using pirate versions have risen by 60 percent this year. It is estimated that around 38 percent of software is pirated in the Czech Republic although this figure has been falling. While Czech whistle blowers will be guaranteed anonymity they will not, unlike their US counterparts, be given cash rewards of up to a million dollars for turning in pirates.