Business News

Photo: European Commission
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In Business News this week: the Czech Republic has posted record trade surplus in 2007; shopping space in the country is expected to expand by 50 percent; Czechs want to include Olomoucké tvarůžky on EU’s list of protected foods; a pint of Pilsner Urquell beer is cheaper in Germany than in the Czech Republic and Czech soft-drinks producer has launched a sugar-free version of Kofola.

Czech Republic posts record trade surplus in 2007

Photo: European Commission
Czech foreign trade enjoyed a record surplus last year, to the tune of 86.1 billion CZK (4.31 billion USD). The Czech Statistical Office unveiled the figure on Tuesday, adding that this was over twice the surplus recorded in 2006. Machinery exports were responsible for a large portion of the surplus, while chemical and food producers had a relatively poor year in 2007. Exports were up 15% year on year in 2007, while imports grew by 13.1%.

Shopping space expected to expand by 50 percent

Shopping space in the country is expected to grow by 50 percent in the next three years, Hospodářské Noviny reported, referring to a survey of the global property agent Jones Lang LaSalle. There are currently 60 shopping malls and retail parks in the country with a total area of 1.4 million square metres. The area is expected to reach 600, 000 square metres within the next three years. Prague currently boasts 28 shopping centres with an area of 700,000 square metres or 583 square metres per 1,000 inhabitants. However, that figure is still relatively low compared to Western European capitals whose shopping area is close to 900 m2 per 1,000 residents.

Czechs want Olomoucké tvarůžky on EU list of protected foods

Olomoucké tvarůžky, a ripened semi-soft cheese of yellowish colour and strong scent, has caused a diplomatic dispute between the Czech Republic and Austria. The only original Czech cheese is aspiring to be included on the EU’s list of protected food products. However, Germany and Austria have raised objections against the listing. Austria’s MEP Agnes Schierhuber argues that the descendants of Sudeten Germans, who were expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II, should also have the right to produce the cheese. Olomoucké tvarůžky first appeared in the fifteenth century.

Pilsner Urquell beer cheaper abroad

A pint of the famous Pilsner Urquell is now 20 percent cheaper in neighbouring Germany than in the Czech Republic which produces it, Mladá Fronta daily reported this week. The largest Czech brewery Plzeňský Prazdroj said this was due to a different business policy. But according to Jan Veselý from the Czech Beer and Malt Association it is a common practice in large breweries to reduce prices temporarily on markets which they perceive as important and on which they want to expand. With a 60 percent share of the Czech market, Plzeňský Prazdroj already has a strong position in the Czech Republic.

Kofola launches sugar-free version

The Ostrava-based soft drinks maker Kofola Holding has introduced a sugar-free version of Kofola, a cola-like caffeinated soft drink, which ranks third on the Czech market in sales terms. The new Kofola Bez has hit the market just a few weeks after Coca-Cola introduced its sugar free Zero Coke. The Czech soft drinks producer also announced this week that its sales in Central Europe went up by more than 15 percent in 2007 while sales in the Czech Republic jumped by more than 30 percent.