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In this week’s Business News: weak crown could be prolonged amid deflation fears; beer lovers encouraged to buy brewery stake; Vietnamese banking giant targets Czech market, competitive rail tenders to roll this year; and ‘the Dominator’ struggles with his drink.
Central bank sees deflation risks and warns could prolong weak crown
The Czech National Bank has said in its latest inflation estimate that there are still deflationary risks which increase the likelihood that it might prolong its weak crown policy beyond the start of 2015. The bank said on Friday that it expects average inflation this year of 0.8 percent to rise to 2.2 percent in 2015. But there are still deflationary risks which increase the likelihood that it will seek to maintain the target of 27 crowns/euro for further into 2015. The bank originally said it expected to wind up the weak crown policy at the start of 2015.
Beer lovers courted ahead of IPO
One of the Czech Republic’s biggest beer groups has taken out newspaper adverts inviting beer lovers to buy into a brewery. The Lobkowicz Brewery Group is stoking up interest ahead of its launch on the Prague Stock Exchange at the end of the month. The group is expected to offer around 5.7 million shares representing just under half of the value of the company for around a billion crowns. Some of the group’s brands include Platan, Klášter, and Černá Hora.
Vietinbank seeks Prague outpost to serve minority, boost commercial ties
One of Vietnam’s biggest banks is looking to make its debut in the Czech Republic. Vietinbank wants to open a Prague branch as part of a European expansion also taking in Poland and the United Kingdom according to bank’s 2013 annual report. Vietinbank, which is around two thirds owned by the state, is seeking to provide services for the Czech Republic’s substantial Vietnamese minority as well as commercial relations between the two countries which are expected to take off in coming years.
Handful of passenger rail tenders to start this year
The Czech Ministry of Transport has confirmed that it will be opening tenders to operate four or five subsidized rail passenger routes this year. The routes have previously been operated by the main state-owned passenger rail company, Czech Railways, but contracts are about to expire. The full list of routes has not been finalized but Plžen-Most and Liberec-Pardubice are said to be among the starting line-up. Newly selected operators on some routes could begin services already this year according to the ministry.
Ice hockey legend struggles with his business goals
And finally, Czech ice hockey ‘keeper Dominik Hašek’s performance and presence on the ice was legendary. But the so-called ‘Dominator is reportedly struggling to make an impact with his latest business venture. Hašek has created a Czech company manufacturing performance enhancing fruit drinks. So far the tins of Smarty black and white juice is only on offer in a limited number of outlets and lacks almost any profile, unlike the company’s founder.