In Business News: the government is planning a slew of privatisations to pay for new transport infrastructure; Skoda Auto is the Czech Republic's biggest firm - and the biggest exporter; Heineken buys Krusovice and now controls eight percent of the Czech beer market; Patria is hoping TV ads turn Czechs on to buying shares; and the increasing popularity of air conditioning is affecting power consumption patterns.
Government planning sell-offs to raise money for roads
The government is set to launch a slew of sell-offs in order to raise money for new roads, it was reported this week. It is hoping around a third of the 45 billion CZK needed for the state infrastructure fund in 2008 will come from privatisations. Later this year it should offload a 7% stake in power giant CEZ (the state will not let more of the company go for security reasons). But there is bound to be more discussion about other privatisations the government is preparing: Prague Airport, Czech Airlines, the cargo unit of Czech Rail, Czech Post and the Budejovicky Budvar brewery could all go on the block.
Skoda Auto biggest company
Skoda Auto is the biggest company in the Czech Republic with revenues of over 200 billion CZK (around 9.5 billion USD) last year, according to an annual ranking published by the Czech TOP 100 association. Skoda was followed by power generator CEZ, Unipetrol, RWE Transgas and Foxconn CZ. Czech TOP 100 also said Skoda Auto was far and away the country's biggest exporter: the Mlada Boleslav-based carmaker exported almost 180 billion CZK in cars in 2006, almost ten percent more than the previous year. The second biggest exporter was Unipetrol, with 44 billion CZK. By the way, Skoda has just begun production of its new Praktik model. The Praktik is a two-seat van version of the Roomster.
Heineken buys Krusovice, increases market share to eight percent
Patria hoping TV ads will persuade Czechs to try investing in shares
The company Patria Direct, part of the Patria Finance group, is hoping a new television advertising campaign will encourage more Czechs to buy shares, Lidove Noviny reported. A spokesperson told the daily that investing in shares in the Czech Republic is considerably less common than in advanced countries, particularly the United States.