Business News


In Business News this week: Hyundai says the construction of its car-making plant in Moravia will go ahead despite the conviction of its chief executive on fraud charges; the privatisation of Prague airport should attract up to three billion US dollars in investment; and the Czech Republic recorded a record trade surplus in 2006.

Hyundai says Moravia car plant will go ahead despite conviction of CEO

As we reported earlier in the week, South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai has insisted that it will go ahead with the planned construction of a new plant in the Czech Republic despite the fact that its chief executive has been sentenced to three years in jail for fraud. Speculation had been mounting in the South Korean press that the conviction of chairman Chung Mong-koo on charges of embezzlement would delay the building of its one-billion-US-dollar assembly plant in the Moravian town of Nosovice. A spokesman for the Czech company has refuted the claims, however, and insisted that a ceremony to mark the commencement of work on the facility would go ahead as planned in April. He did add, however, that it was unclear whether the company chairman would be attending the event.

Czech dairy company denies its products are unsafe

Madeta, the Czech Republic's largest dairy producer has denied that its products are a threat to public health following reports that Slovak hygiene inspectors found the dangerous listeria bacteria in one of its cheeses. Slovak health officers apparently found the potentially deadly bacteria in one of Madeta's cheeses on sale at a Lidl supermarket in Bratislava and ordered the product to be taken off the shelves. A spokesman for the South-Bohemian firm said that all its cheeses had passed appropriate controls in the Czech Republic. He criticised the Slovak announcement for lacking specific details and for being inaccurate. Last year, five times more people than normal were infected with the listeria bacteria, which is often found in soft cheeses. 80 people were treated for the illness and 13 of them died. Government warnings about avoiding soft and mature cheeses have hit Madeta hard. Due to reduced demand, its production of soft cheeses is now at only forty percent of normal levels.

Privatisation of Prague airport attracts major players

Ruzyne airport
It has been reported that Prague's Ruzyne airport could be sold for 65 billion Czech crowns or 3 billion US dollars in the next three years. According to the Czech weekly Tyden, the airport has attracted interest from a number of major investors. Potential bidders for the facility include German building giant Hochtief, the Fraport concern, which runs Frankfurt airport, and Czech investment group PPF. The state-owned Prague airport is due to be turned into a stock company this year with a view to being privatised over the next two years. It handled a record 11.5 million passengers in 2006 and recently opened a new terminal. The number of people passing through Prague airport every year is expected to reach 20 million by 2020.

Czech Republic records record trade surplus in 2006

The Czech Republic recorded a record trade surplus in 2006 according to the Czech Statistical Office. It says the country posted a surplus of 47.3 billion Czech crowns or 2.1 billion US dollars. Strong sales of cars and transport equipment helped the country beat its previous record by 8.7 billion crowns (11.3 million US Dollars). The Czech Republic's positive trade balance grew with most of its EU partners, but it also recorded increased deficits with China, Japan, Russia and Taiwan.

Suspect in CKA embezzlement case disappears

A Czech businessman who is a key suspect in a case involving the loss of half a billion Czech crowns at the Ceska konsolidacni agentura (Czech Consolidation Agency) has apparently disappeared according to the Internet news server Entrepreneur Milos Skorepa was suspected of having half a billion crowns or 23 million US dollars illegally transferred to his account from a subsidiary of the state-run bail out agency.According to the server, Mr Skorepka left the country before the police could file charges against him.