Business News


In this week's Business News: analysts say the PM's prediction of up to 8 percent GDP growth in the first quarter is realistic; consumers spending was up 8 percent in February; a Czech company is to launch the country's first private express train; over five billion crowns remains in anonymous bank book accounts at Ceska Sporitelna; the two sides in the Budweiser name dispute come to a settlement for the first time; the number of 50-crown coins in circulation has risen sharply; and Barrandov is building the biggest sound-proof film studio in Europe.

GDP growth could reach 8 percent in first quarter, says Paroubek

Jiri Paroubek,  photo: CTK
Czech GDP growth could reach seven to eight percent in the first quarter of this year, Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said this week. He said the economy was doing well thanks to strong growth in industrial production of 15 percent in January and 12 percent in February. Analysts said the prime minister's forecast was realistic. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund said this week it expected the Czech economy to grow by 5.5 percent this year.

Marked rise in consumer spending in February

Czech consumers spent 8 percent more in February than in the same month last year, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. Spending was also up in the previous few months and has reached a six-year high. Economists say the positive trend is due to growing salaries and a rising standard of living.

Czech company to launch first country's first private express train

The first ever private express trains in the Czech Republic are set to start running between Prague and Ostrava this year. The Czech company Railtrans says it will run nine pairs of trains between the two cities; the journey will take 20 minutes longer than on the high-speed Pendolino but fares will be fifty-percent cheaper, the company says.

Almost five billion remains in anonymous bank book accounts at Sporitelna

Almost 5 billion crowns (over 200 million dollars) remains in bank accounts held by customers with anonymous bank books at the Ceska sporitelna bank, a spokesperson said. Under a law aimed at curbing money laundering, the bank books have to be phased out by 2012. In the last four years over 100 billion crowns has been removed from such accounts, on which there is no interest.

Budvar reaches settlement with Anheuser-Busch for first time

There are around 40 court battles around the world between Czech brewers Budejovicky Budvar and US company Anheuser-Busch over the right to use the name Budweiser. But this week, for the first, time the two companies reached a settlement - in Cyprus. The Czech company can sell its beer there under the name "Budejovicky Budvar" and use the trade name "Budweiser Budvar, National Corporation". Budejovicky Budvar was founded in 1895 in Ceske Budejovice, and used the German name Budweis. The founders of US firm Anheuser-Busch gave their beer the name Budweiser because it was popular in their home country, Germany.

More 50-crown coins in circulation

The number of fifty-crown coins in circulation has risen sharply since the start this year, from just over 5 million to around 8. A spokesperson for the Czech National Bank told Lidove noviny that fifty-crown notes were wearing out at an ever-faster rate, and only new coins are being issued at the moment. The present government is hoping - perhaps optimistically - to adopt the euro in 2010. That would spell the end of the Czech currency, though introducing more coins could be an earner the National Bank - people are apparently more inclined to hold on to coins than notes.

Barrandov building Europe's biggest sound-proofed studio

Prague's famous Barrandov will open three new film studios by the end of the year. The company says the biggest of the three - at over 2,000 square metres - will be the biggest sound-proofed studio in Europe. Big Hollywood films such as the new James Bond movie have been made at Barrandov, but it is increasingly used to film advertisements - the number of commercials made there has doubled in the last three years.