Business News


In Business News this week: the Czech Republic’s current account posts a surprise surplus of 4.8 billion crowns; Škoda Auto’s sales are up by nine percent; thirteen percent of Czech firms are planning foreign expansion this year; guest numbers at luxury Czech hotels rose in 2007, and public broadcaster Czech Television generated more than it expected from license fees last year.

Czech current account posts surprise surplus of 4.8 billion crowns

The Czech Republic’s current account defied expectations and swung to a surplus of 4.8 billion CZK (297 million USD) in January. At the end of 2007, the country’s account was 20.1 billion crowns (1.25 billion USD) in the red. A Reuters analyst poll had predicted that in January, the Czech account would post a deficit of around 0.5 billion crowns. The central bank which released the data said that the positive balance was mainly due to a surplus in the balance of trade and services. The current account measures trade, services, and dividend flows into and out of the country and is seen as one of the main drivers of the Czech currency – the crown.

Škoda Auto’s sales increase by nine percent

The Czech Republic’s leading car maker, Škoda Auto, saw its sales rise by more than 9 percent last year to 222 billion CZK (nearly 13.8 billion USD). At a news conference on Thursday it was also revealed that Škoda posted a record net profit of 15.8 billion CZK (993 million USD) in 2007. Over 630,000 Škodas were sold last year, with sales in Škoda’s biggest market – Western Europe – rising by 8.6 percent. The most notable upturn was recorded in Asia, where Škoda sales shot up by nearly 79 percent. The most popular model of Škoda worldwide? The Octavia, which leapfrogged the Fabia into first place.

Press: Thirteen percent of Czech firms plan foreign expansion this year

Around 13 percent of Czech firms are planning to expand abroad this year, reported Hospodářské noviny this week. The figure comes from a poll conducted by the Czech Business Chamber, which found that the most attractive country for Czech firms was Slovakia, followed by Germany, Poland and Russia. The head of the Chamber, Jaromír Drábek, told Hospodářské noviny that this willingness to expand was evidence of Czech companies’ self-confidence and the healthy state of the Czech economy.

Guest numbers at luxury Czech hotels rose in 2007

The number of people staying at luxury four and five star hotels in the Czech Republic shot up by 11 percent in 2007, according to data released by the Czech Statistical Office this week. Over 3.46 million guests checked into the country’s top hotels, including an increasing number of Czechs themselves. Nearly 20 new luxury hotels are planned for Prague alone in the next couple of years to meet the demand for high-end lodgings. The Czech Republic currently boasts 38 five-star hotels and 316 four-star establishments.

Number of TV sets in the country on the rise, national broadcaster generates more than expected through license fees

Czechs are becoming increasingly square-eyed. According to the country’s public broadcaster Czech Television, over 66,000 new television sets were registered in the country last year, bringing the overall number of registered TVs to 3.58 million. Czech Television generated some 5.07 billion CZK (over 314 million USD) from license fees last year, which is 75 million crowns more than they bargained for. License fees represent the main source of finance for Czech Television. In the Czech Republic, the current license fee is 135 crowns per television-owning household per month.