Business News


In Business News this week: the Czech finance minister puts forward plans for a radically simplified “super tax”; the Czech tractor maker Zetor sees a 14-percent rise in sales; the Ministry of Agriculture launches a huge organic food promotion campaign; there is speculation the country’s biggest search engine could go on the block; and a Czech travel agency is offering flights in space on Virgin Galactic.

Finance minister proposes radical “super tax”…

The minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, wants to introduce a radically simplified tax system in two years' time, Hospodařské noviny reported this week. The most eye-catching aspect of his proposals is a single 40-percent “super tax”, merging income tax and social insurance. Mr Kalousek told the newspaper that in any case social welfare contributions were nothing but a pension tax. As well as making things simpler for the payee, the change is intended to make collecting tax easier and less costly for the state.

…and plan to prevent companies moving elsewhere

Minister Kalousek is also proposing that companies do not pay taxes from dividend and capital gains. The aim is to prevent companies moving to states with more favourable tax conditions, he said.

Tractor giant Zetor sees 14-percent rise in sales

The Czech tractor manufacturer Zetor saw a healthy rise in sales of nearly 14 percent last year, the company announced on Thursday. Net profit increased by one fifth year-on-year to just under CZK 240 million. Zetor, which has two new Japanese senior managers, is owned by the Slovak group HTC Holding. It is one of Europe’s biggest makers of tractors.

Ministry launches biggest organic food marketing campaign ever

The Agriculture Ministry is this weekend launching the country’s biggest ever organic food promotion campaign. Half of the CZK 28 million cost of the advertising campaign will be provided by the European Union. Agriculture Minister Petr Gandalovič said the aim was to persuade consumers of the advantages and availability of organic foods. Currently only five percent of Czech consumers regularly buy organic foodstuffs; the minister said he hopes the new drive leads to a doubling of that figure.

Speculation over future of biggest Czech search engine

The founder and majority owner of the country’s biggest internet search engine has denied that it is for sale. Ivo Lukačovič described newspaper reports that he was planning to sell as an “April fool’s joke”. However, the Czech News Agency said two trustworthy sources insisted the sale is planned. It put the estimated value of Seznam at up to CZK 16 billion.

Agency selling tickets to space

A Czech travel agency is now offering trips into space. The Typ Agency says around 25 Czechs have signed up to travel on Virgin Galactic, which is set to begin going into orbit from the end of next year. Five minutes of weightlessness will set them back CZK 3.2 million.