Business News


In Business News this week: As power giant CEZ announces healthy profits, analysts warn of further increases in the price of electricity; Czech Railways is now in profit after years in the red, though the company is fined for late trains by the Olomouc regional authority; increases in home prices should slow, though prices are not likely to fall; and cable company UPC now has over a million customers.

Large profits for CEZ, more electricity price rises expected

Photo: archive of Radio Prague
The state-run power giant CEZ has announced profits of over CZK 8.5 billion for the third quarter of this year, an increase of around 60 percent on the same period in 2006. The company, Europe’s eighth biggest energy producer, is expecting record profits of CZK 40 billion for the whole of this year. Those great results for CEZ come on the back of an 8-percent increase in electricity prices; some analysts say increases for 2008 due to be announced this month could reach up to 10 percent.

Czech Railways in profit for first time in years…

Following years in the red, Czech Railways posted a profit in the first nine months of this year. By the end of September the country’s biggest employer had made CZK 43 million, an improvement of over CZK 500 million compared to the same period in 2006. That upswing has been put down to a rise in passenger and cargo revenues and an increase in subsidies from the Ministry of Transport.

…though late trains lead to fines by regional authorities

Meanwhile, Czech Railways has been fined by the Olomouc regional authority over its trains arriving late. A representative of the region said a penalty of CZK 5.5 million was being imposed because it had made financial contributions to connections on which trains were delayed. The Liberec region had previously fined Czech Railways for the same reason.

Growth in flat prices expected to slow

The strong growth in the price of homes in the Czech Republic is coming to an end, suggested Hospodarske noviny this week. Market analysts consulted by the daily said they expected flats to rise in price by ten percent in the next 12 months. That follows growth of twenty percent or more this year. However, unlike what we have seen in some western countries, property prices should not actually fall, except in the case of apartments in pre-fabricated buildings, which experts say are overvalued.

Cable firm UPC now has over a million customers

The cable company UPC now has over a million customers in the Czech Republic, a country with a population of around 10 million. The Czech firm’s cable television services were used by almost 700,000 customers at the end of September, while over 230,000 had signed up for its high-speed internet service – a marked rise on the 100,000 recorded a year previously. But the biggest percentage increase was seen in users of its telephone services – that figure jumped from 10,000 to 60,000. UPC entered the market in 1993 and is today the country’s biggest cable firm.