Business News

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In Business News this week: Prague is the most popular location for house buyers, an independent audit declares the new road-toll system a success, the government is to sell a significant stake in the CEZ energy giant, and Czechs will buy more laptop than desktop computers for the first time ever this year.

Prague, central Bohemia and south Moravia most popular apartment locations

More than 10,000 new apartments were built in the Czech Republic last year and more are currently being constructed Hospodarske noviny reports. According to the daily, Prague is the most popular location for new property developments. The Czech capital accounted for around a third of all newly built apartments in the country. Other sought-after locations are central Bohemia and south Moravia. Around 1,000 apartments were built in these regions in 2006. The least popular area for new apartment developments is the Moravia-Silesia region, where barely more than a hundred new apartments were built last year. Hospodarske noviny says that Czech property buyers are now paying far more attention to the location of the flats they would like to buy than they used to. The most sought-after type of dwelling at the moment is a one-bedroom flat with a kitchenette, which is particularly popular among first-time buyers.

New road-toll system a resounding success according to audit

The new road-toll system, which was introduced at the beginning of the year for trucks and heavy goods vehicles has been a resounding success according to an independent audit, says the Pravo daily. According to the paper, the system had a success rate of 98.5%, which has eased fears that it would be unworkable. The new road toll had already collected 1.1 billion Czech crowns or 52 million US dollars by mid-March. If this trend continues, it will have enjoyed revenues of around 5.5 billion crowns or 260 million dollars by the end of the year. The new system uses microwave signals to record trucks' movements on Czech roads and then subsequently bills hauliers for the amount of kilometres travelled. At the moment, the system only operates on main roads and motorways.

Government to sell seven-percent stake in energy giant CEZ

Photo: CTK
The Czech government has announced that it has decided to sell a seven-percent share in the CEZ power company to private investors. The company enjoyed record profits last year of over a billion US dollars and Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek says selling a seven percent share in the company now would add 36 billion crowns or 1.7 billion dollars to state coffers, which will be used for repairing the Czech Republic's roads and motorways. Despite the sale, the state will continue to have a controlling interest in CEZ as it will still hold more than 60 percent of the company's shares.

Czechs will buy more laptops than desktops for the first time this year

A new study by the IDC intelligence agency indicates that most Czechs buying computers this year will buy a laptop instead of a desktop. Last year, Czechs bought 380,000 laptops, which accounts for 49 percent of all computers sold and IDC reports that the fifty-percent mark will be exceeded for the first time this year. Apart from their portability, greater memory capacity, wireless internet access and falling prices for laptops are the reasons why they are becoming more popular with Czech consumers. Czechs are well ahead of global trends in this regard, as laptops are not expected to become the most popular type of computer on the world market until 2011.

New Czech euro-adoption date set for 2012

Photo: European Commission
The Czech finance ministry drew up a plan last week for the country's euro adoption, which would see the Czech Republic begin using the currency in 2012, two years later than originally anticipated. The main factor slowing down the euro-adoption process here is the Czech Republic's public-spending deficit, which is expected to reach around four percent this year. One of the criteria for joining the euro zone is that the state's budget deficit cannot exceed three percent. Finance minister Miroslav Kalousek wants to make a number of social-spending cuts to bring the deficit down to around two and a half percent within three years. Critics say that the plan lacks specific target dates and measures. Euro adoption can't come soon enough for many Czech exporters, who say they are currently losing billions of crowns in income because the strong Czech currency is reducing their revenues from euro-zone countries.