In Business News: Heineken - Krusovice merger okayed by the anti-monopoly office; Czech foreign trade heading for a record surplus; an unexpected fall in inflation; a downturn in the consumption of electricity; Czechs busted claiming sick-leave; road tolls might apply to vans; and Czechs' tipping habits explored.
Anti-monopoly office gives Heineken the go-ahead to buy out Krusovice
On Tuesday, the sale of the Central-Bohemian Krusovice brewery to Dutch group Heineken was approved by the Czech anti-monopoly office. The merger is expected to give Heineken an 8% share of the Czech market, making it the third biggest beer-producer in the country. Heineken already owns the Starobrno brewery in Moravia, and with this new addition to its portfolio is expected to produce more than 1.85 million hectoliters of beer a year, here in the Czech Republic. The largest brewery in the Czech Republic remains, however, Plzensky Prazdroj, with a share of almost 45% of the domestic market.
In related news, Czech beer output for the first half of this year reached a record 9.9 million hectolitres in total. Sales of beer increased both at home and abroad. A spokesperson for the Czech Beer and Malt Association put the rise in sales down to the scorching summer that Europe is having.
Czech foreign trade surplus heading for a record high this year
Unexpected fall in inflation to 2.3%
Less electricity consumed in H1 2007
Over 7,500 Czechs busted claiming sick leave
Sick leave is being abused in the Czech Republic, reported Hospodarske Noviny on Friday. The paper was going on statistics published by Czech Social Security for the first half of this year, in which over 7,500 Czechs were found to be claiming sick leave when they were not ill. In the first 6 months of this year, there was an upturn in Czechs calling in sick, with doctors issuing 1.6 million sick notes. Companies paying the lowest wages found that they had the sickest employees. Sick leave is currently subsidised by the Czech government, who are planning a series of reforms. They propose to cut all benefits for the first 3 days of illness, and transfer more responsibility to the employer.
Road toll might apply to vans
Beginning in January 2008, tolls on Czech roads might apply for vans as well, according to the daily Mlada Fronta Dnes. The Czech Ministry of Transport is considering pushing for a change in the Road Transport Act which would allow for the introduction of the toll for vans lighter than 12 tons. Many freight forwarders started transporting goods in small vans in order to avoid road toll fees that currently only apply to larger vehicles.