Written by: Anita Lišková
TELECOM: More mobiles than people
In this year’s third quarter, the number of mobile phones in the Czech Republic exceeded the number of Czech citizens, and should reach nearly 10.5 million by year’s end. Nevertheless, the market will continue growing, according to the operators, since Czech Bureau of Statistics data show that nearly one-third of Czech citizens don’t own a mobile phone. Besides their own personal handsets, people also use company phones, and the age of mobile phone users is steadily declining, though even seniors are using them more. This is a good year for the mobile operators – since mid-year they have gained 400,000 customers, with the number of calling minutes rising by 15.5%.
GOVERNMENT: Huge Czech subsidies
The overall level of state subsidies in the ten new EU countries nearly doubled last year, from EUR 4 billion in 2000. According to a report published by Mario Monti, the European economic competition commissioner, the Czech Republic reports the highest level of support among central and eastern European countries, devoting 2.8% of its GDP to corporate subsidies. According to the EU, the Czech government provides seven times as much support to companies as the original member states. However, the industry ministry claims that this is not at variance with EC rules. “All subsidies are discussed with the European Commission,” says ministry spokesman Ivo Mravinac.
STATISTICS: Productivity comparison
For the first time ever, the Czech Bureau of Statistics has made a comparative study of performance and effectiveness between local and foreign companies. The analyses indicate that foreign companies are over one-third more productive and one-third more profitable than domestic firms. Foreign companies’ efficiency is especially evident in their higher turnover of goods, therefore minimizing storage and inventory requirements. Companies under foreign control employ only 30% of the Czech work force but account for nearly half of all revenues and 52% of total gross profits. The study shows that the main problem of domestic firms is insufficient investments.
Correction: The Prague Tribune wishes to amend two factual mistakes that were printed in The Prague Tribune TOP 100 Special Edition, published in October. The Tribune TOP 200 Profit Up & Down chart, evaluating the year-to-year decrease of profit, incorrectly included the company Mora Moravia. In fact, this company has undertaken a large and successful restructuring over the last two years, resulting in profit of CZK 25 million in 2003.
We also inaccurately published the profit/loss figures for Český Telecom. Due to the oversight of a minus sign (-), we listed ČT with profits of CZK 1.7 billion, whereas the company’s actual ranking in 2003 should have shown a loss – i.e., CZK -1.7 billion.
The Prague Tribune sincerely apologizes to our readers for the error, and to the companies Mora Moravia and Český Telecom for any difficulties these mistakes may have caused.