In this week’s Business News: Czech Republic is export giant for ITC equipment; exports fill in for shrinking domestic beer market; Škoda Auto sets sales records; Metrostav sees light at the end of foreign tunnels; and the game’s up for gambling firms.
The Czech Republic is the world fifth biggest exporter of IT and communications equipment with sales abroad last year reaching 444 billion crowns, public broadcaster Czech Television reported this week. The country exported 8 million mobile phones and 3 million televisions alone, in 2103. In Europe, the Czech export volumes are only beaten by Hungary and Slovakia and in wider world by China and South Korea.
Czech beer producers last year upped their output slightly, but only thanks to increased exports more than making up for a shrinking domestic market. Total production was 0.6 percent up on 2012. But Czech beer consumption fell again, to an average 144 litres per mouth last year from 146 litres in the previous 12 months. Germany is still the biggest export market, although Czech sales slipped there in 2013, with exports rising to Slovakia, Poland, Britain and Russia. South Korea is also opening up as a promising new destination.
Car producer Škoda Auto has just declared a record breaking first quarter for sales. The manufacturer sold just over 267,000 cars, up just over 12 percent on the first quarter of 2013. The best-selling Octavia range saw an increase of over eight percent. Total sales in March were the strongest ever for the month at just over 96,000, nearly 15 percent higher than during the same month in 2013.
Czech building giant Metrostav is facing a public relations nightmare over the Blanka Tunnel in Prague and has just lost out on the Temelín nuclear power plant tender, it was the special construction partner of Westinghouse. But foreign fields are looking more promising. Metrostav says it has won a contract for a 1.5 kilometre tunnel in Norway and looks like winning two similar contracts in Slovakia. Last year Metrostav boosted its turnover but profits were flat.
Casinos, gaming machine operators, and online betting companies are facing a clampdown from the finance ministry. New rules for gaming machines are being prepared which, for example, would limit the losses gamblers could suffer over a certain period. And under a proposed new gaming law, local councils would be given full power to close down gaming joints and the ministry plans to close a loophole and register foreign owned gambling sites and tax them.