Business News


This week in business, the rankings of the Top 100 firms in the Czech Republic see little change, while motorists can expect big changes thanks to new legislation on lorries. Construction has slowed in the Czech Republic, but is this a systemic problem and is Google planning to open an office in Prague.

Skoda Auto still most admired firm in Czech Republic

The Czech Top 100 association has released its rankings of the most admired firms operating in the Czech Republic in 2005 and little change has been seen in the upper echelons of the table. The number one firm continues to be SKODA AUTO, followed by the energy company CEZ. Like last year, drug company ZENTIVA is third, followed by the Plzensky Prazdroj brewing company. The big climber in the table is travel service company Student Agency, which runs bus services to major Czech cities, as well as an airline ticking business and enters the table for the first time this year. Construction company Skanska, brewer Budvar, cell phone operator Eurotel, steel mill Trinecke Zelezarny and financial group PPF round out the top ten.

Lorries to travel on Sundays

Thanks to changes in the traffic code, lorries will have more time on the roads. The new traffic code set to take effect soon will allow to travel all day Sunday, something that had been banned up to now for all lorries except those carrying goods that can spoil. Also, lorries will also be able to be on the roads on Friday afternoons during the summer holidays, also something that had been banned up to now. At the same time, fines and penalties for lorries that disobey the regulations have been lowered, something that is sure to displease a large number of motorists.

New fines on the road

Also displeasing to motorists will be new regulations that set fines of up to half a million crowns, or about 25,000 dollars, for driving on Czech highways without buying a highway stamp. Even forgetting to remove an old stamp will be punishable by a 100,000 crown fine. The new regulation takes effect next year.

Construction drops 8.2 percent

Construction dropped by 8.2 percent year-on-year in February, the Czech Statistical Office reported this week. However, the total value of projects that began construction in that month totaled 26 billion crowns, or slightly more than one billion dollars, which is a 22 percent increase year-on-year. Analysts say that the drop in construction was not so much caused by a dip in the real estate market, but instead by heavy snowfall, which put off a number of major construction projects.

Google may open Prague office

Finally this week, the internet magazine has reported that search engine giant Google is planning to open an office in Prague an suggests that the company could be planning to open a research and development centre in the Czech capital. The server reports that the firm has advertised a position of head of development to be based in Prague and unofficial sources say that Google recruitment specialists have been active in Prague recently.