In Business News: road haulage is the "riskiest" sector due to increased competition after EU accession; the Delvita supermarket chain is bought out by German company; two Czech firms launch legal music downloads; a Brno company wins a large contract in Iraq; sugar beet growers plan to stage protests over closures; and tourism accounts for over 3 percent of Czech GDP.
Road transport 'riskiest business' since EU accession
Photo: Štěpánka Budková
The increased competition that has accompanied European Union accession has hit Czech road hauliers hard. According to a survey by Coface Czech, theirs is the riskiest sector in the Czech economy, with 55 delivery companies collapsing in the first nine months of this year. A representative of the Czech transport services group Cesmad told Hospodarske noviny that 60 percent of firms in the sector were making a loss in 2005, and this year things are even worse.
German firm buys Delvita chain
The Delvita supermarket chain has been bought by the Germany company Rewe, owner of two other chains on the Czech market, Billa and Penny Market. Rewe will now operate 170 supermarkets in the Czech Republic. This follows the sale of the country's Carrefour shops to Tesco last year.
Two firms launch first legal downloads in Czech Republic
Two Czech companies have begun offering legal music downloads. I-legalne.cz and AllMusic.cz this week became the first to make songs available legally over the internet in the Czech Republic. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Czech branch of Apple told Lidove noviny that the company had no plans to launch its popular i-Tunes service in this country, saying the service was not available in far more lucrative markets such as South East Asia.
Brno firm wins big contract in Iraq
The Brno-based firm Prokop Engineering has won a 40-million-dollar contract to supply technology for an oil refinery in Iraq. It isn't the only Czech company exporting to the war-torn state: exports in the first nine months of this year already exceed the total for 2005 by over 50 percent.
Sugar beet growers to protest at embassies over closures
Sugar beet growers are planning to stage protests in front of the British and German embassies next Thursday. They are up in arms about the plans of Eastern Sugar - whose owners are from the UK and Germany - to close three refineries in the Czech Republic. The company is also shutting down other plants in the region, due to a European Union restriction on sugar production and a drop in prices.
Tourism accounts for 3.1 of Czech GDP
Tourism accounted for 3.1 percent of Czech gross domestic product in 2005. That's according to figures released by the Czech Statistical Office. A representative said that was comparable to other countries, adding, however, that tourism makes up a smaller part of the Czech economy than it does in states such as Spain and Austria. But overall tourism consumption is growing in the Czech Republic, with a ten-percent rise between 2003 and 2005.