In this week’s Business News: later exist from weak crown probable; first major Malaysian investment announced; tax freedom day arrives; Ahold told to curb some of its supermarket purchases; and cider looks like becoming a Summer hit.
The Czech National Bank has signalled that its weak crown regime could be drawn out until the middle of 2015 or even later. The Czech central bank had previously indicated that its foreign currency interventions to keep the crown from strengthening beyond 27 crowns/euro would end at the start of next year. The central bank’s board said on Thursday that inflation at around zero level looks like continuing in the coming months so that moves to counter the risk of deflation should carry on. The weak crown policy was launched in November last year.
Czech aircraft design and development firm Evektor has signed an agreement under which a Malaysian company will become a strategic partner. Aspirasi Pertiwi is investing around 4 billion crowns in the South Moravian company as part of the deal. Evektor is currently in the throes of developing it most ambitious plane so far, the nine-14 seat EV-55 Outback. Around 1,100 units of its best-selling two-seat plane have been sold worldwide. The Czech company is also involved in car design and development and the design of steel buildings.
Tax freedom day this year falls for Czechs on June 27, the same date as in 2013, according to the Czech stock brokerage company Patria Finance. The calculation is based on how many days citizens have to work to pay the taxman before they can start earning for themselves. The free market Liberal Institute used a different methodology to put tax freedom day this year on June 10, one day earlier than in 2013. It estimates the Finns are the Europeans with the longest annual wait for tax freedom day with the date this year coming on August 3.
The Czech competition watchdog has cleared Dutch-based retail giant Ahold’s acquisition of Spar and Interspar supermarkets and hypermarkets in the Czech Republic but only on condition that some of the 50 stores are sold off. The competition office said that Ahold’s market share would significantly exceed 40 percent in four regions of the country with no sizable competitors around if the deal was allowed to go ahead without any changes. Ahold originally aimed for the 5 billion crown deal to catapult it from third to first place among Czech retailers.
Cider sales are taking off in the home of beer and fermented apple juice is set to become this summer’s hit according to Czech media reports. The two biggest brewery groups in the country, Plzeňský Prazdroj and Staropramen, have launched their cider offerings this year mainly based on imported production. But some small Czech producers are also seeking to get a slice of the action. F.H. Prager, which is based at Kladno around 40 kilometres from Prague, says its sales have risen by 500 percent in the first five months of the year.