The Biz Sheet: Weekly business news briefing for Czechia

A round-up of the top Czech and international business news plus a look at the start-up scene, finance sector, and more. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 31.01.2023 07:26:00 (updated on 31.01.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

Big deals 🤝🏼

EPH enter Dutch market|The Energy and Industry Holding (EPH) company, majority-owned by Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský, has purchased two major gas power plants in the Netherlands. This equates to 7.5 percent of Dutch energy capacity. The power plants have a capacity of 800 and 870 megawatts respectively. The acquisitions are to “be the cornerstone of the energy group's long-term presence on the Dutch market,” the company said in a press release.

Czech firm acquires British energy company|The Czech Creditas Group has acquired British energy company InterGen for an undisclosed fee, ČTK reports. InterGen’s four power plants generate a total capacity of 2860 megawatts. InterGen is one of the largest independent electricity producers in the British Isles. It registered a pre-tax profit of CZK 3.2 billion in 2021. Creditas Group’s energy division, UECD, is the fourth-largest energy distributor in the Czech Republic.

Going nuclear|Defense firm Rolls-Royce Holdings held talks last week with Czech energy conglomerate ČEZ Group in Prague about deploying small modular reactors (SMRs; types of nuclear reactors) made by Rolls-Royce in Czechia. This could be implemented from the beginning of next decade, writes. British Minister of Trade Greg Hands is supportive of the decision. 

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👍 Winners and losers

IKEA records big profit Retail chain IKEA has announced that its profits for its most recent financial year have grown by 22 percent. The Swedish furniture giant recorded a profit of almost CZK 12 billion between September 2021 and August 2022. About 4 million more customers purchased items during this timeframe compared to the year-earlier period.

💡 Innovation

Hydrogen-aircraft project launches Global technology firm Honeywell has invested about CZK 4.8 billion in a Brno center that is researching ways to create a hydrogen-powered aircraft-propulsion system. The “TheMa4HERA” project is part of the EU's “Clean Aviation” program that aims to reduce the carbon footprint of the global aviation industry. “With the launch of NEWBORN we can kick-start the necessary work to drive a step-change in aircraft performance and deliver EU Green Deal ambitions for net-zero flight,” said head of the Clean Aviation project Axel Krein.

💳 Banking beat

Massive bank profits|Czech Trinity Bank has reported a (pre-tax) profit increase of over 400 percent and double the number of clients year on year in 2022. Its profit stood at CZK 1 billion in 2022, with over 100,000 total clients. The bank recently expanded its network to include branches in České Budějovice, Hradec Králové, Liberec, Pilsen, and Ostrava.

Data from the Czech National Bank shows that Czechia's banks had the best half-year of all time in the first six months of 2022, collectively earning almost CZK 54 billion.

Moneta records strong client increase|Czech-founded Moneta Money Bank has recently surpassed 1.5 million clients, writes. The bank reports a near threefold year-on-year rise in newly opened savings accounts and term deposits. Moneta's offer of interest rates above 5 percent triggered the flood of interest. This positive news comes after Moneta’s announcement in late 2022 that it would make several lay off about 300 employees.

📈 Inflation watch

Worse-than-expected economy|Czech Minister of Finance Zbyněk Stanjura said last week that the “economy will decline more deeply than expected,” Seznam Zprávy writes. According to Stanjura, continually high inflation will discourage consumers from shopping more, leading to a shrinkage in the economy. The Czech National Bank forecasts average inflation of 9.1 percent this year. Despite the negative outlook, Stanjura expects enterprises’ profits to grow markedly in 2023 year on year.

🌱 Seed report

Czech AI project raises record investment|Young artificial intelligence (AI) company Filuta has recently raised a record amount of money for a start-up in its pre-seed phase. CzechCrunch writes that Filuta has raised CZK 56 million in a crowdfunding effort – the highest pre-seed amount ever in the Czech Republic. According to the company’s founders, Filuta “autonomously delivers the optimal solution to any problem in a company” via AI when fed a company's data.

🇨🇿 Czech your currency

CNB won't change interest rates|This weekend's presidential election had little impact on the Czech currency. On Monday, the crown weakened against the euro, by three pennies to 23.85 CZK/EUR compared to Friday's close, reports On the contrary, the Czech currency strengthened by six pennies against the dollar. President-elect Petr Pavel has very little influence over the composition of the bank board of the Czech National Bank (CNB). Analysts say that the CNB's Thursday announcement on interest rates (forecast to remain Prague at 7 percent) will have a greater effect.

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