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Czech government announces record Q1 economic growth figures. Czech industrial production rises 3.0 percent in March. Low-key ceremony marks signing for Hyundai's Czech plant. Czech power company CEZ selects Russian nuclear fuel supplier. Sales at Czech internet portals top 1 billion crowns in 2005. Investors buy flats with regulated rents.

Czech government announces record Q1 economic growth figures

The Czech government announced record first-quarter economic growth figures this week suggesting that the economy is growing faster than ever before. The deputy prime minister for the economy, Jiri Havel, said the economy grew at a year-on-year rate of 8.2 percent in the first three months of this year - driven mainly by big foreign investors such as carmakers. Unipetrol to invest almost CZK 1 billion in Chemopetrol, Ceska rafinerska. Czech CEZ announces delay to Warsaw stock listing.

Czech industrial production rises 3.0 percent in March

Czech industrial production went up in March with a 3-percent rise from output in the same month last year, the Czech Statistics Office announced this week. Industrial production fell by 0.7 percent in February compared with the figure for the same month in 2005. The figure for March brings the rise in Czech industrial production to 17.9 percent on a 12-month basis, the second-highest level of growth since 2001, the office said.

Low-key ceremony marks signing for Hyundai's Czech plant

Kim Tong-Chin and Milan Urban, photo: CTK
A Czech government delegation, led by Trade and Industry Minister Milan Urban, signed a contract with South Korea's Hyundai Motor on Thursday for a billion euro car plant in the Czech Republic. A low key ceremony was held in Seoul after the signing, only two days after Hyundai chairman Chung Mong-Koo, was indicted on charges of embezzlement and breach of trust following a month-old probe into a slush fund scandal. Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek and Mr Chung had originally planned to sign the contract on Tuesday in Prague and take part together in a groundbreaking ceremony at the plant's future site in Nosovice, North Moravia, but Mr Chung's arrest forced the scrapping of the initial plan, Hyundai Motor said.

Czech power company CEZ selects Russian nuclear fuel supplier

The Czech state-controlled electricity company CEZ has signed a 10-year contract with Russia's TVEL which will supply nuclear fuel for the Czech Temelin nuclear plant. TVEL defeated the current supplier Westinghouse from the United States. A spokesman for the plant declined to disclose details of the contract but said it is worth several billion crowns (hundreds of millions of dollars). TVEL is to supply around 400 metric tonnes of fuel for Temelin's two 1,000 megawatt units, located in the southern Czech Republic near the Austrian border. The Russian company already supplies fuel to CEZ's nuclear reactors at Dukovany, near Brno.

Sales at Czech internet portals top 1 billion crowns in 2005

Sales at the largest Czech internet portals rose by around one-third to more than 1 billion crowns (42 million dollars) last year, according to companies running the portals and experts' estimates. The number of visits a week to the portals increased by 40 percent. Revenues to internet portals came from sponsored links, advertisements and projects such as pages which offer sale of real estate or cars.

Investors buy flats with regulated rents

A recently adopted law on the deregulation of rents has set the market for flats in motion as investors are buying flats with sitting tenants paying controlled rents, the daily Lidove noviny wrote on Thursday. An investor who buys a flat with a regulated rent and then sells it after deregulation may earn three times the invested sum, analysts have said. Since the law on deregulation was approved, experts say demand for these flats has grown by 30-40 percent. Deregulation is scheduled to begin in January next year. Rents will grow by 14.2 percent a year on average for four years. As of 2011, the amount paid will depend on an agreement between house owners and tenants.

Unipetrol to invest almost CZK 1 billion in Chemopetrol, Ceska rafinerska

The Czech petrochemicals group Unipetrol wants to invest 950.5 million crowns (40 million dollars) into modernisation and capacity increase in its major subsidiaries Chemopetrol and Ceska rafinerska this year, a Unipetrol spokesman said. The group plans to invest 584.1 million crowns in the refinery Ceska rafinerska. Among the main projects will be modernisation of the hydrocracking unit built in 1987, which is used for more efficient oil processing and is an important source of material for Chemopetrol's petrochemicals plant. Money will also be invested in bio-fuels equipment.

Czech CEZ announces delay to Warsaw stock listing

The Czech electricity giant CEZ announced on Thursday that it will postpone its listing on the Warsaw Stock Exchange originally scheduled for the end of June. The decision is due to "market instability linked to large changes in the price of CO2 permits". CEO Martin Roman said the listing could now take place in the autumn, when the market has calmed down. Poland is described by CEZ, already present in Romania and Bulgaria, as one of its strategic markets for its expansion in Central Europe and the Balkans. At the end of January it signed an agreement to buy two Polish power plants and is bidding for another one.