In Business News this week: the foreign trade gap in July is higher than analysts had expected; the Czech Republic falls eight places to 45th in the rankings in the annual Economic Freedom of the World report; the future of digital television in the Czech Republic is uncertain, after a court cancels the award of digital TV broadcasting licences to six channels; Skoda creates a rugged, off-road version of its popular Octavia model, the Octavia Scout; and there are three Czechs among the 100 wealthiest people in the former Eastern Bloc.
Foreign trade gap in July higher than expected
Czech Republic 45 in Economic Freedom of World rankings
The Czech Republic has fallen eight places to 45th in the rankings in the annual Economic Freedom of the World report. It monitors state intervention in the economy, support of businesses and the entrepreneurial environment in 130 countries around the world. The 2006 report says the number of activities in which the government interferes in the Czech Republic is on the rise. But it said freedom of trade has improved. As in previous years, Hong Kong topped the economic freedom rankings.
Future of digital TV uncertain as court overturns licence decision
Skoda produces Scout, off-road version of popular Octavia
The Czech carmaker Skoda has created a rugged, off-road version of its popular Octavia model. The Octavia Scout is a four-door, four-wheel-drive estate and Skoda is expected to use it as a stepping stone for the compact, sport-utility called Yeti, which could be released in 2007. The Scout will be formally unveiled at the Paris motor show at the end of this month, and goes on sale in the Czech Republic early next year. More than a million Octavias have been sold since the model was launched a decade ago.
Three Czechs among richest 100 in former communist bloc
Among the 100 richest people in the former communist bloc are three Czechs, Mlada fronta Dnes reported this week. Petr Kellner, the owner of insurer Ceska pojistovna and hire-purchasing firm Home Credit, ranks 20th in the list with 3.2 billion USD in assets. The two other Czechs in the top 100 are Zdenek Bakala, co-owner of coal mine OKD, and Patrik Tkac, co-owner of the investment group J&T.