New apartments
in Prague.
Our new home.
Dear Members,
n May 1995, representatives of 30 Swedish companies in the Czech Republic established the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic. Since that time, “Swedish” has been replaced by “Nordic”, and the
membership has grown to over 140 companies employing almost 59,000 people all over the Czech Republic. To
mark the 20-year-anniversary, the Nordic Chamber will during the year launch a number of special events. On
pages 22-23 in this edition of Nordic News you will find an interview with the Chamber’s previous President and
co-founder Nils Silfverschiöld. Below is a selection of photos marking the anniversary.
I hope to see you soon at one of our events!
Yours sincerely,
Developer YIT Stavo presents new modern
Finnish-styled living in Prague. The apartments feature unique quality and original
design, also thanks to 100 year tradition and
know-how. At the same time, great emphasis
is placed on every residential project to be
environmentally friendly and to save energy.
Stefan Lager
President of the Nordic Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic
All photos Jaroslav Fišer
Front page Copyright © KONE Corp.
Take a look and discover
the difference.
If you are interested in increasing your marketing exposure to the Nordic community by sponsoring any of the above events, or have any topic that you would like us to
cover in the future, please contact Lea Turcarova [email protected] We reserve the right to make changes to the contents due to unforeseen circumstances.
The above agenda may be subject to changes – all members will be given further details or advised of changes by fax or mail. Please make sure to check our web site,, for updates.
PRAGUE (TBE) – The Czech Republic’s placing on Transparency
International’s annual global list assessing perceived corruption in
the public sector has improved slightly. In the corruption watchdog’s
ranking for 2014, released in early December last year, the Czech
Republic climbed to 53rd position, up from 57th last year. This means
that the Czech Republic is ranked 25th among the EU’s 28 member
states. “We see a law that regulates the financing of political parties
and an effective system for seizing the revenues of criminality and
tax evasion […] as our key priorities,” said David Ondráčka, Director
of TI Czech Republic.
AALBORG (PRE) – Denmark’s TK Development and its partners GE
Capital and Heitman have sold the Futurum shopping centre in Hradec Králové to Meyer Bergman. The selling price for the whole centre,
which consists of 110 stores covering a total floor space of 28,250
square metres, together with a 14,400-square-metre hypermarket,
amounts to EUR 87.6 million. TK Development’s ownership interest
in the centre, which opened in November 2000, was 20 percent. The
sale of Futurum is part of the Aalborg company’s strategy to sell one
or more major completed projects. In total, the Danish company has
developed nine shopping centres in the Czech Republic.
ardubice-based ERA, a world leader in
next-generation surveillance and flighttracking solutions, has completed the third
extension of its surface guidance system at
Copenhagen Airport Kastrup. Currently, 27
ERA multi-sensor surveillance ground-based
stations and 238 pieces of SQUID vehicle
tracking units are in operation there to ensure
the safety of the busiest airport in Scandinavia.
“Our Swedish plant
is still producing fuel for
newer Russian reactors
of the VVER 1000 type,
which are operated, for
instance, at Temelín,” Mr
Roderick told LN. “We
have invested significantly
in the production of fuel
for VVER 1000 reactors
and we are ready to start
mass production.”
PRAGUE (HH) – The Czech company Sipral, an internationally-renowned producer of progressive building envelope systems, has
been chosen to supply the façade and an interior glazed partition
wall for the Amager Bakke waste-to-power incinerator plant in Copenhagen. The façade delivered by Sipral will consist of 3,250 pieces of extruded aluminium profiles. The Prague-based company will
also supply the main entrances to the power plant. Amager Bakke,
which will burn 400,000 tonnes of waste annually, costs around
CZK 15 billion and will be one of Europe’s most modern incinerators. The completion of the project is scheduled to 2017.
PRAGUE (E15) – Herdi Kader and Cesur Nujen, both Swedes of
Kurdish origin, have had a lifelong dream of creating a Kurdish beer.
Last spring, they commissioned the brewery in Žatec, northern Bohemia, to produce the first batch of their brand Ava Zer – Golden
Water. “We chose the Žatec brewery because it sits in the middle
of the world’s most famous hops disctrict,” Herdi Kader says. The
Swedish-Kurdish entrepreneurs will not specify how much beer
they import from Žatec, but say that they are working to win a position in Sweden’s beer market. The Ava Zer can be ordered from
Systembolaget for SEK 16.
NAVIAIR, the Danish Air Navigation
Service Provider, required improved airport
surface surveillance in order to maintain a
high level of safety for airport operations during adverse weather conditions and to reduce
the risk of unauthorised incursions onto the
runway. NAVIAIR also required a singleview of aircraft and vehicle movements over
the complete surface coverage.
“Thanks to our radar system, the airport
can also accurately monitor all movements
under bad weather conditions with minimal
visibility,” ERA’s Lenka Reichová Stejskalová says.
ERA, which is controlled by the Czech
arms dealer Omnipol, also supplies military
aviation with radar equipment. Recently, the
company won a CZK 400 million-tender to
supply NATO with two units of its passive
radio sensor, VERA.
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inland’s first private railway operator
Fennia Rail has ordered three diesel
locomotives from Czech manufacturer CZ
Loko. The locomotives will be delivered to
Fennia Rail within October, and the company will then start transporting freight on the
Finnish rail network. The contract is worth
around CZK 180 million.
“The long-standing uncertainty regarding
the availability of railway rolling stock suited
for Finland’s severe weather conditions has
come to an end,” says Kimmo Rahkamo,
CEO of Fennia Rail. “CZ Loko has built locomotives for 160 years and has experience in
building them for different climate conditions
and track gauges.”
The combustion engines will be manufactured by Caterpillar and will meet modern
emissions regulations. They will have the
highest traction capacity and lowest emissions of any diesel locomotive in Finland.
“Our operations are based on environ-
safety and economic
efficiency, with which
we offer a competitive mode of transport
for Finnish industries
– straight connections
to ports, for example”,
says Petri Lempiäinen,
Fennia Rail’s Chairman of the Board.
KOPŘIVNICE (KDN) – Bang & Olufsen, the Danish producer
of high-end music systems, loudspeakers, televisions and telephones, has filed an application to erect a new warehouse and to enlarge its
existing production hall at
its premises in Kopřivnive.
are working for B&O in
North Moravia. When the
planned expansion is finished in 2017, the Danish
company expects to have
1,000 employees in the
production and another
300 people working in the
warehouse. The reason for
the expansion is, according to B&O, the need to increase production to meet
the growing demand for the
company’s products.
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photo: Jaroslav Fišer
n late January, Czech Defence Minister
Martin Stropnický suggested establishing
a joint Central European Gripen Training Centre in which not only Czech but also
Slovak and Hungarian pilots could be trained.
After a meeting with his Swedish counterpart,
Peter Hultqvist, in Prague, Stropnický said
that Slovakia’s decision to buy the Swedishmade jet fighter would significantly enhance
the plan.
Both Slovakia and Hungary have shown
interest in launching a joint pilot training centre. The Czech and the Hungarian air forces
have been using Swedish JAS-39 Gripen for
more than a decade. In order to modernise its
air force, Slovakia has been discussing the
possibility of purchasing Gripens. The Swed-
ish Defence Minister continued to Slovakia
for further discussions after finishing his
Czech trip.
The Czech Republic hopes Slovakia will
buy the Gripen fighters to allow both countries to protect their airspace jointly. Trilateral
negotiations in this respect have been underway between Sweden, the Czech Republic
and Slovakia for several months.
Czech Chief-of-Staff Petr Pavel previously mentioned possible similar cooperation
with Slovenia, Croatia, Austria and the Baltic
countries. “Currently, a number of countries
are deciding how they will modernise their
fleets of supersonic air fighters for the coming
decades,” Defence Minister Stropnický said.
zech brewery Budějovický Budvar has
won a 21-year long
dispute with AnheuserBush InBev (ABI) over
the registration of the
Budweiser trademark in
Norway, Budvar applied
for the trademark in December 1993, but the
world’s biggest brewer
filed an objection. The
final ruling allows Budvar to continue selling its
beer in Norway under the
Budweiser trademark.
“After 21 long years
we have finally reached
legal certainty, which will help us develop
our commercial activities in Norway further,” Budvar’s lawyer Veronika Sporová
says. “Moreover, the Norwegian verdict
gives us an important argument which we
can use in similar trademark disputes in other countries.”
Legal disputes over the famous trademark have been going on since 1907.
Czech Budweiser is sold in North America
under the label Czechvar, while American
Budweiser is labelled as Bud in all EU markets, except for Ireland and the UK. Budvar’s biggest export markets are Germany,
Slovakia, the UK, Poland and Austria. The
Czech brewer is present in all Nordic countries, with the largest sales in Finland and
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TAMPERE (KAK) – Finlayson, one of Finland’s oldest textile companies, is entering the Czech market with a unique collection of
bedclothes and interior textiles called Tom of Finland. The collection has been created to honour the memory of Touko Laaksonen
(1920-1991), an artist who reached global fame as a gay icon under
the pseudonym Tom of Finland. Currently, Finlayson offers Czech
customers the collection through its eshop, but it will soon also be
found in leading Czech department stores. “By presenting Touko
Laaksonen’s work, Finlayson wishes to support the idea of tolerance
and mutual respect among people,” COO Risto Voutilainen says.
STOCKHOLM (DAI) – The Czech Republic is among the six European countries where the Swedish fashion chain H&M has announced it will launch an online market in 2015. During the previous year H&M launched eshops in France, Italy and Spain, and
the company also speeded up its online trade in China. “There are
significant investments connected to the launch of an online market
in a country where we are not yet established, just as there are
significant investments connected to the establishment of a regular
shop,” H&M’s CEO Karl-Johan Persson told Dagens Industri daily.
H&M currently has 42 stores in the Czech Republic.
MLADÁ BOLESLAV (KUB) – Škoda Auto set a new sales record in 2014.
For the first time in its 119-year company history, the Czech producer
last year sold more than one million vehicles, increasing its worldwide
deliveries by 12.7 percent to 1,037,200 vehicles. “By setting a new sales
record and delivering more than one million vehicles for the first time, the
brand has established itself in the ‘Champions League’ of international
high-volume manufacturers,” CEO Winfried Vahland commented. In
Western Europe, Škoda increased deliveries by 11.8 percent to 413,200.
In China, its biggest single market worldwide, Škoda increased sales by
24.0 percent to 281,400 vehicles.
he international textile services company Berendsen, headquartered in Copenhagen, has significantly strengthened its operations in the Czech Republic. In 2010 the
company opened a CZK 100 million laundry
in Velké Pavlovice, southern Moravia. The
plant leases, cleans and maintains working
clothes and mats for over 3,000 customers in
the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
To meet the growing demand for its
services, Berendsen in January finished a
1,300-square-metre enlargement of the Velké Pavlovice plant that will triple its capacity. The annex, which including new machinery has cost CZK 80 million, also enables
Berendsen to dedicate individual production
lines to specialised professional groups.
“We have improved the technical quality of our laundry to meet the highest hygienic standards of, for instance, the food
processing industry,” Berendsen’s Country
Manager, Tomáš Strˇelský, says. “The modernisation includes a room for the cleaning
of textiles that are used in super-clean environments. As a result, we can now reach out
to completely new groups of customers.”
With over 100 workers, Berendsen has
become one of the largest employers in the
Velké Pavlovice area. The company reckons on continued growth and has already
started the planning of a second plant in the
Czech Republic or Slovakia.
weden’s Mölnlycke Health Care, a
leading global provider of single-use
surgical and wound care products, will build
a new factory in Havírˇov,
in the north-eastern part of
the Czech Republic. The
operation in the new factory
will start in 2017 and will
employ 200 to 300 people.
According to CzechInvest,
which negotiated the investment, the project will
cost up to CZK 1.6 billion.
Since 2002, Mölnlycke Health Care has been
operating a factory in the
PRAGUE (SFO) – Skanska Property Czech Republic has, after stiff
competition from a number of developers, acquired the FIVE! office
building project in Prague Smíchov from Hochtief Development. The
German company has announced that it will pull out of the Czech
property market. The FIVE! office building project, which also incorporates a smaller part comprising flats, covers 14,500 square metres
and utilises parts of the original building at the location, a tramway
depot. The Riverview office building, which Skanska Property recently
finished and sold to Invesco, is located close to FIVE! The value of the
transaction has not been published.
industrial zone in Karviná, located 15 kilometres to the north of Havírˇov. The company’s Vice-President, Eric De Kesel, told
the Czech media that by 2020, Mölnlycke
expects a significant increase in sales.
“This investment will help us achieve a
more efficient management of the production and the logistics which are required
for the assembly of a large number of surgical products into final kits. The construction of a new plant in the Czech Republic
will help us achieve our business targets in
the most efficient and sustainable manner.”
Mölnlycke Health Care, headquartered
in Gothenburg, has over 7,500 employees
in more than 30 countries. Positive experiences with its 600 workers in Karviná were
a key reason for the company deciding to
expand its production in the region.
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photo: Jaroslav Fišer
PRAGUE (TBE) – Seco Tools, a world leading manufacturer and
supplier of carbide cutting tools and associated equipment, is building new headquarters in Brno. The Swedish company established
itself in the Czech Republic in 1994. The company has over the last
two decades focused mainly on the Czech aviation and automobile
industries and nuclear energy sector. The company has an annual
turnover approximating CZK 250 million. The new head office will
be finished and put into operation during 2015. Seco Tools, which
is wholly owned by Sandvik, is headquartered in Fagersta, Central
Sweden. It is present in 60 countries worldwide.
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PRAGUE (TBE) – The Swedish state road authority, Trafikverket,
has awarded the Czech construction company Subterra a contract worth around SEK 140 million. Under the contract, Subterra
(a daughter company of Metrostav) and its partner, the Slovak
construction company STI, will build two access tunnels, which
will form a part of Stockholm’s new beltway. The contract also
includes the construction of a harbour in the Stockholm area.
The work started in early 2015. Subterra has announced that the
company also will take part in the tender for the construction of
a new repository for spent nuclear fuel at the Forsmark atomic
power plant.
PRAGUE (ČTK) – Kim Pyong-il (61), son of Kim Il-sung, founder of
the North Korean totalitarian regime, will be the new North Korean
ambassador to the Czech Republic. Mr Kim has been an ambassador to several European countries since 1979, including Yugoslavia,
Hungary, Finland and Poland. According to the media, this was to
prevent him from influencing politics in his homeland. He is allegedly
still considered a threat to the Pyongyang regime due to his resemblance to Kim Il-sung. Kim Pyong-il is the younger half-brother of the
late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and the uncle of present North
Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
MÖLNLYCKE (KAL) – Malin Lindgren will be the Swedish fashion
chain Lindex’s new Design & Purchasing Director. Malin Lindgren
comes from a similar role at Peak Performance, where she worked for
eight years, and has extensive experience in the fashion industry at a
global level. She started at H&M and worked there for eight years in
a variety of positions, both in Sweden and in Asia. Later, she worked
as a Purchasing & Production Manager at Peak Performance. Malin
Lindgren has both leadership training and a master’s degree in International Economics from the University of Uppsala.
business opportunities and to manage challenges that might occur for those.”
Stig Fugl Lund is accompanied in
Prague by his wife Dalila. He is active in
football, cricket and tennis and has been a
member of FCK, the Football Club of Copenhagen, since 1961. In his spare time he
also enjoys golf.
ricsson Czech Republic has appointed
Radim Janda as its new General Director. He joins the Swedish telecoms giant after 15 years in the Czech telecommunications sector. For the last seven years
he had been working in Cisco, where he
was responsible for communications with
O2 Czech Republic. He will continue the
with O2 as
head of Ericsson’s Czech
Mr Janda
graduated in
Finance and
Taxes from
the European
Institute. “In
my work for
Ericsson I will focus on making the company a trustworthy technological partner
and the first choice for our customers,” Mr
Janda says. “With my team I will help tel-
PRAGUE (ČTK) – Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK has named Pietari Inkinen(44) as its new head conductor. In 2013, the Finnish violinist
and conductor conducted Opera Australia’s Ring Cycle. Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK (Film, Opera, Koncert) was founded in 1934.
By recording the music for the majority of Czech films in the 1930s
and performing regularly in live broadcasts on Czechoslovak Radio,
the FOK Orchestra made a name
for itself among
Over the course
of the orchestra’s
history, many of
the world’s most
conductors – and a
wide variety of
soloists – have
the FOK as guest
ecoms operators to establish a technologically integrated society.”
In his spare time, Radim Janda enjoys
martial arts. He actively performs Thai box
and Krav Maga.
oman Wieczorek (57) has been named
the new head of Skanska for Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Roman Wieczorek joined Skanska Poland in 1998 and assumed the position of
President of Skanska Poland in 2005. He
has a degree in Law from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan.
“Since I have been responsible for business development in all of Central Europe
for the four
last years,
I know the
the organisation and
the Czech
and Slovak
very well,”
R o m a n
“In the future I will also consistently build
a company culture based on ethical values
and complete transparency.”
Mr Wieczorek replaces Dan Ťok, who
resigned from the company after becoming
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tig Fugl Lund (60) has been appointed
head of the Commercial Department at
Denmark’s embassy in Prague. He replaces Jess Møller Knudsen, who has become
Trade Commissioner in Toronto.
Denmark’s new trade boss in the
Czech Republic, who also functions as
the Trade Council’s Regional Coordinator
for Central
Europe and
the Balkan
graduated in
and International Trade
at Copenhagen Business School.
He joined
the Danish
Trade Council in 1996, and has previously
been stationed as Commercial Counsellor
in Rome, Paris and Budapest.
“The strong development in trade between Denmark and the Czech Republic
shows that Danish companies are well
aware of the possibilities on the Czech
market and that they are utilising them
with regards to production, exports/imports and sourcing,” Stig Fugl Lund says.
“My strong ambition is to provide significant value to Danish exporters and subsidiaries in the Czech Republic, to create new
Czech Transport Minister last December.
He is married with three children.
koda Transportation has named
Tomáš Ignačák (45) as its new CEO.
He replaces Josef Bernard, who steps
down after four years, but who will remain active in other positions in the company.
The new CEO started his professional
career with Pars DMN Šumperk in 1993,
where in 2000 he became CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors. In 2012, he
was appointed Vice-President for Commerce in Škoda Transportation; in the
same year, he also became a shareholder
in the company.
“Škoda Transportation now has an excellent position on the market, so – as a
CEO – I would like to focus especially on
the correct use of opportunities for growth
on foreign
T o m á š
says. “Running a company such
T r a n s portation
is a great
I hope that
GOTHENBURG (OST) – Alrik Danielson has succeeded Tom Johnstone as President and CEO of SKF Group. Mr Danielson had been
President and CEO of Höganäs AB since 2005. He worked at SKF
between 1987 and 2005 and held a number of executive positions
within the Group, including that of President of SKF’s Industrial Division and member of the Group’s Executive Committee. Leif Östling,
Chairman of the Board of SKF Group, comments: “I am very pleased
to welcome Alrik Danielson back to SKF. His experience during 18
years at different positions in SKF makes him a competent successor
to Tom Johnstone.”
I personally will contribute to its further
Tomáš Ignačák graduated from the Faculty of Electronics at VUT Brno. He later studied International Marketing and Management
at the University of Toruń; he also holds an
MBA from Nottingham Trent University.
avel, Holásek & Partners, the largest Czech and Slovak law firm, has
strengthened its team with Lena Pršalová.
Before joining Havel, Holásek &
Partners, she worked for leading Czech
law firms. She specialises in commercial
law, corporate law, domestic and foreign
company restructuring,
and establishing holding
She has also
been advising on the
merger and
division of a multinational leader in inspection and control in the construction
Lena Pršalová graduated from the
Palacký University School of Law, Olomouc. She speaks English.
PRAGUE (IHN) – Magnus Alsterlind from Sweden has replaced Zuzana
Machová as managing director of the beauty product company Oriflame’s subsidiary in the Czech Republic. Mrs Machová will transfer to
Bratislava to lead the Swedish cosmetic concern’s operations in Slovakia. Magnus Alsterlind joined the company in 2004, and has previously
worked for Oriflame in the Czech Republic and Poland. He comes to the
top job in Prague from the position as Senior Director Sales for Central
Europe. Mr Alsterlind has an MBA from Henley Management College.
His responsibilities as Oriflame’s managing director in the Czech Republic include strategic development of the company.
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aděžda Ptáčková has been named the
new General Manager of Skanska Reality. She
comes from
the post of
Director of
Development and
Her main
in the coming period
will mainly
be to actively support the acquisition of
new projects and a stronger focus on a proclient attitude to improve the company’s
“I am firmly convinced that Skanska Reality under Naďa’s leadership in the Czech
Republic will continue to be perceived as an
innovative developer that takes values such
as ethics, safety and environment seriously,”
Mikael Matts, President of Skanska Residential Development in Central Europe says.
Naďa Ptáčková has been working in
the top management of Skanska Reality since 2004. Earlier in her career she
worked in HVB Bank. She has also attended professional courses in Germany,
England and the USA.
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PRAGUE (KSB) – Nordic Chamber member Kocián Šolc Balaštík has
appointed four new counsels. Sylvie Sobolová is a specialist in public
procurement and aid, intellectual property, EU law, competition law, litigation and arbitration, securities and capital markets. Christian Blatchford is a specialist in M&A and project financing. Drahomír Tomašuk is
a specialist in telecommunications law, personal data protection, banking, and administrative proceedings. Jan Černohouz is a specialist in
corporate income tax. With a team of nearly 70 lawyers and tax advisors operating in offices in Prague, Karlovy Vary, and Ostrava, KŠB is
one of the largest law firms in the Czech Republic.
nomaly Pictures was established in 2014
by students at Film Academy of Miroslav
Ondříček (FAMO) in Písek. The start-up’s business plan is to establish a number of professional film crews, consisting of FAMO graduates,
who will offer high-quality video productions in
all formats demanded in the market. Thanks to
its personal contacts with the Nordic Chamber,
it was a logical step for Anomaly Pictures join
the Chamber. “A membership in the Nordic
Chamber gives us first of all a great opportunity
to network at the Chamber’s events; I hope we
will be able to offer Chamber members quality
services for an appropriate fee,” the company’s
founder Michal Turcar says.
n accountancy focusing on small and
mid-sized companies, 3kont offers its
services to Nordic SMEs and start-ups in the
Czech Republic. As a locally-based company,
3kont covers your businesses from an account-
ing & tax point of view. Additionally, the company transfers local financial numbers into more
common international standards – IFRS. The
company prepares profit and loss accounts and
bookkeeping documents and reports in English
and Czech. 3kont also offers tailor-made payroll services and consultancy in finances and
accountancy, as well as help in negotiations
with banks. 3kont is especially targeting foreign
shareholders running their businesses in the
Czech Republic.
s a designer of attractive products or services both in the digital and real world,
Direct People is a consultancy that brings in-
novation. The company’s staff uncover what is
hiding under their client’s surface, which is the
key to identifying opportunities for innovation.
Through workshops, Direct People analyses
information gathered in the field and searches
for opportunities to launch prototypes of new
products and services. As specialists in product commercialisation, Direct People modifies
prototypes until the most attractive version for
the client is polished out – if possible on a risk/
profit-share basis, which brings right motivation
and business goals to the cooperation.
rant Help focuses on grant and organisational consulting for the subsidy programmes of the EU and other programmes of support. After learning what the client’s objectives
are, Grant Help will guide its clients through the
whole process of obtaining a subsidy, from recommending a suitable subsidy title to creating
PRAGUE (ISS) – The Czech subsidiary of the Danish facility services
giant ISS has renewed its contract with Tesco to provide cleaning
services for the British-owned retail chain. Since 2011, ISS has been
responsible for facility services at Tesco’s 127 stores in the Czech
Republic. “Since 2012, Tesco has been our biggest client, so the
renewal of this contract is a huge victory for the entire company,”
Jan Boháček, General Director of ISS Czech Republic and Slovakia,
comments. Under the contract, ISS will take care of interior and exterior cleaning of Tesco’s premises, winter and summer maintenance
of roads, and waste compression.
a complete project application and providing
implementation management of supported projects and other follow-up activities. The company also has an advisory division that offers
management consulting services to public and
private organisations, business entities and non-profit organisations. Grant Help has a staff of
13 experts in its offices in Prague and Brno. The
company is also present in Hungary and Croatia.
olubová advokáti is a Czech law firm that
provides services primarily for corporati-
founded in Denmark in 1932. The company established in Kladno, Central Bohemia, in 2000,
and has currently around 2,000 employees. One
part of LEGO Production’s activities in Kladno
focuses on assembly, printing and packing of
LEGO boxes, which are dispatched to children
all over the world. The other part of LEGO
Production’s operation specialises in the development and production of marketing items. In
addition to LEGO Production, LEGO is also
present in the Czech Republic in Jirny, southeast of Prague, where the company’s European
distribution centre is situated.
ons and employers, property owners and administrators of property. The firm has access to a
broad international network of associated law
firms and contacts to lawyers and other professions around the world. This means it can even
handle complicated cases with international reach. Clients also take advantage of the possibility of having legal services provided in German,
Spanish, English and Swedish. The law firm
was founded in 1991.
EGO Production is a part of the world famous toymaker LEGO Group, which was
PRAGUE (TBE) – A 2.7 kilometres-long flood defence system in Beroun has been officially handed over to the city’s authorities. Sweco Hydroprojekt, a subsidiary of the Swedish engineering and environmental
technology consultancy, has provided all engineering and design services – from a feasibility study to as-built documentation – to the city of
Beroun, the Vltava River Basin Directorate and the contractor’s consortium led by Habau CZ. The construction of the flood protection measures commenced in November 2012 and continued, with an interruption
caused by flooding, until June 2014. The measures were implemented
within the Ministry of Agriculture’s Support for Flood Prevention project.
tance Communications has been providing a comprehensive Public Relations
service since 2004. Services rendered to the
company’s clients include strategic consulting,
media relations – media lobbying, copywriting and publication of press releases, organi-
sation of press conferences and informal press
meetings, ongoing media monitoring, media
training, crisis communication, corporate publishing, original and inventive PR campaigns,
internal communication, event management and
other services in the field of Public Relations.
Stance Communications always choose the solution that is the most suitable for the client’s
needs. The company’s core team of staffers collaborates with a wide range of external specialists from all disciplines.
O foods is a supplier of selected Fine Dining ingredients for hotels, restaurants and
catering companies operating in Central Europe. The XO team brings more than 10 years’
experience in the world of gastronomy and
knows how to make their customers’ wishes and
demands come true.XO foods focuses on popular products for international and Czech cuisine;
customers will find the best meat from South
America, USA, Australia, New Zealand and
Europe, delicacies from France, Italy, Switzerland, Russia and the Caspian Sea, and a variety
of frozen seafood from oceans across the whole
world. The company’s vision is to support chefs
in developing and realising their creative ideas.
The Annual General Meeting approves
annual membership fees.
1. Companies with more than 100 employees
– CZK 40,000 per annum or pro rata
2. Companies with 31-100 employees
– CZK 30,000 per annum
3. Companies with 11-30 employees
– CZK 20,000 per annum
4. Companies with up to 10 employees
– CZK 10,000 per annum
5. Individuals
– CZK 5,000 per annum
ANOMALY PICTURES, S.R.O: Revoluční 8, 110 00 Prague 1, T: + 420 728 028 289, E: [email protected],
3KONT S.R.O.: Na Pokraji 2/540, 190 00 Prague 9, T: +420 607 816 289, E: [email protected],
DIRECT PEOPLE: Komunardů 32, 170 00 Prague 7, T: +420 604 223 601, E: [email protected],
GRANT HELP S.R.O.: Václavské nám. 23, 110 00 Prague 1, T: +420 773 993 906, [email protected],
HOLUBOVÁ ADVOKÁTI S.R.O.: Za Poříčskou bránou 21/365, 186 00 Prague 8 , T: +420 224 914 050, E: [email protected],
LEGO PRODUCTION: Jutská 2779, 272 01 Kladno, T: +420 312 778 111, E: [email protected],
STANCE COMMUNICATIONS, S.R.O.: Salvatorska 931/8, 110 00 Prague 1, T: +420 224 810 809, E: [email protected],
XO FOODS: Přerušena 189, 160 00 Prague 6, T: +420 270 005 300, E: [email protected],
PRAGUE (CTK) – In October and November, led by the Danish
director Henrik Ruben Genz, a crew of 120 film professionals shot
scenes in Prague and six other locations in the Czech Republic for a
film about the Norwegian-Danish naval hero Tordenskiold. The historic film is set in the year 1720, when Vice-Admiral Tordenskiold has
just won the battle of Dynekil and is touring Europe in search of new
challenges. Nimbus Film, the producer, invested CZK 70 million in
the shooting in the Czech Republic. The release of “Tordenskiold”,
whose title role is played by the Norwegian actor Jakob Oftebro, is
scheduled for January 2016.
PLZEŇ (IDE) – The Czech train manufacturer Škoda Transportation
has won a CZK 10 billion contract with the British company National
Express in Germany. Under the contract Škoda will deliver 38 RegioPanter electric trains to Nuremberg, where the British company will
run the suburban S-Bahn system from 2018 to 2030. Škoda Transportation has in earlier years delivered mainly to eastern Europe, but
this is the company’s second mega contract in Germany within short
time. “Our high-quality trains offer a competitive mix of low operational costs, low energy consumption and a fair price,” Škoda Transportation’s Vice President Zdeněk Majer said.
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PRAGUE (TBE) – Swedish ventilation manufacturer Systemair, which
in 2010 acquired the Czech company VKV, has reached an agreement
to acquire the Frankfurt-based sales company Airwell Deutschland. In
2014, the company had 15 employees and an estimated turnover of
EUR 7 million. “This gives us a wider base in Germany and contributes to the group’s know-how within commercial air conditioning,” says
Systemair CEO Gerald Engström. “We see great synergies with our
latest acquisitions in France and Italy. We will immediately merge the
operation with our existing Systemair company in Germany and take
advantage of synergies in administration and logistics.”
PRAGUE (TBE) – Danish couple Jette Boel and Niels Brøchner
have announced that they wish to sell their hotel Zámek Kněžice
in the Šumava region. The couple bought the run-down baroque
palace in 2003. After a cost-intensive restoration the palace was
opened as a hotel and wellness centre a year later, targeting especially Danish tourists. “Because of the financial crisis, the demand among Danish clients has not met our expectations,” Mr
Brøchner told the Jyllandsposten daily. The hotel was put up for
sale at a price of EUR 1.2 million two years ago, but in January
2015 had still not been sold.
Conference on Security and
Cooperation in Europe, which
culminated in the signing of
the Final Act at the summit in
Helsinki in 1975. I spent two
years in committees dealing
with human contact and the
exchange of information, key
subjects for us in the West,
but anathema to the Soviet
Union and its vassals. Just
two years later, we witnessed
a real practical result of the
Helsinki agreements when Charter 77 was
signed by a number of very courageous people in Czechoslovakia.
The Charter quite rightly asked the
authorities to respect the commitments
they had undertaken in Helsinki. Václav
Havel was one of the leaders. I knew only
a little of him or his associates, but I was
full of admiration for their initiative. As
we all know, Havel and many others were
imprisoned for their entirely legitimate
beliefs and activities.
Fast forward to 1989. As the new department chief at our ministry I was invited in early October for lunch by the then
Czechoslovak ambassador in Copenhagen.
We discussed the new government in Poland and the unrest in the German Democratic Republic. I enquired about the situation in Prague and in particular what kind
of role people like Havel and Dubček might
OSLO (REU) – In October last year, Norway’s Statoil signed a deal
to sell gas to the Ukrainian state gas firm, Naftogaz. According to a
source in the Ukrainian energy sector, the price was much lower than
for Russian gas. “The agreement with Naftogaz is for deliveries of gas
in Slovakia,” Statoil spokesman Morten Eek said. “From there they
are responsible for transportation.” He did not reveal the value of the
deal. “In a Statoil context, this is a short-term and relatively low-volume
agreement,” he said. Statoil is Europe’s second-largest gas supplier
after Gazprom. Ukraine imports 60 percent of its gas consumption.
As we all know, just a few weeks later,
Havel and Dubček stood on the balcony of
the Melantrich building, greeting the multitude who had forced the communist regime
to step down. And shortly afterwards, Havel
was in the Castle. Even a great man at the
centre of historic events could not foresee
what was to come just a short time later. A
comforting thought for us mere mortals. Subject of unfounded criticism
play in the future. He laughed at me as if
I was a complete idiot; Havel and Dubček
were scum, he proclaimed, who would never play any important role in the development of his country.
A couple of weeks later a colleague of
mine found himself in Prague, at an informal lunch, seated next to the by now worldfamous chain-smoking playwright, recently
released from jail. “When will real change
come to Czechoslovakia?” my friend asked
Havel. Soon, as in Poland and the GDR?
No, no, came the answer. The trauma of
1968 and “normalisation” weighed so heavily on his countrymen that he thought it
would be a long time before anything like
that happened. OK, said my friend, but
when something does happen, what will be
your role? “My role?” Havel shot back, I’m
a playwright, not a politician; I shall not
have any role to play.
PRAGUE (LN) – Tesla Motor’s full-sized electric five-door, luxury liftback
model S is slowly penetrating the Czech market. Of the 83 electric cars
that were sold in the country during the first half of 2014, 30 were Tesla
M. Considering the price – around CZK 3 million – and the fact that Tesla
doesn’t have a Czech sales office, so clients most often travel to Holland – the result is seen as promising. “Unlike other countries, the Czech
state doesn’t give electric cars any subsidies,” comments Pavel Tunkl of
the Union of Car Importers. The total number of charging stations in the
Czech Republic is 220.
COPENHAGEN (DR) – 2014 was a record year for wind power
in Denmark. According to the website, 39 percent
of all electricity used in Denmark last year was produced by wind
power. The increase can be attributed in part to the more than
100 new offshore windmills that were installed in 2014. The Danish government has set the goal of having half of all electricity
produced by wind power by 2020. “We have set a one-of-a-kind
world record. And it shows that we can reach our ultimate goal –
namely to stop global warming,” Climate Minister Rasmus Helveg
Petersen told broadcaster DR.
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I had the fortune to meet President Havel
early in the new year, 1990. In February
I travelled with my foreign minister, Uffe
Ellemann-Jensen, to Prague to establish
contacts with the new government. We
met Havel at the Castle, of course, as well
as Jiří Dienstbier at the Černín Palace. But
the high point was a dinner in the then am-
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for four decades.
If that had been the case, I fervently hope that a figure with the stature of
Václav Havel would have emerged in
Denmark as the head and symbol of our
movement to throw off the shackles of
Communist totalitarianism and foreign
domination. But precisely because we
could again enjoy our freedom after the
defeat of Nazism, no such figure was
needed and therefore did not appear.
In Czechoslovakia and other Warsaw
Pact countries the situation was, to put it
mildly, of course very different.
In mid-1989 I was the newly appointed
chief of the department for Eastern Europe
in the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
and in that part of the continent dramatic
things soon started to happen in one country
after another.
Sixteen years earlier, my first assignment in the Foreign Service had been as
a member of the Danish delegation to the
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This issue’s guest writer is
Christian Hoppe,
Denmark’s Ambassador to
the Czech Republic
In 1945, Denmark was
liberated by British
forces. However, if the
Red Army had reached
our border first, our
destiny could have
been the same at that of
Czechoslovakia and we
would both have been
members of Comecon
and the Warsaw Pact
bassador’s dining room. The background
is this:
A year before, in early 1989, our minister had been in Prague, and in solidarity with the dissidents – and with strong
opposition from the authorities – he had
organised a lunch for many of them in that
very same dining room. All those invited
came, except one: Václav Havel. He had
a good excuse for not turning up: he was
in prison. In his honour, Uffe EllemannJensen had left an empty chair at the lunch
table. Now, a year later, he did come for
a meal in his new capacity as President.
Several other former dissidents were there
as well.
It was a wonderful occasion. Like other
guests, I was a bit puzzled to see the President standing in a corner by himself, lighting one cigarette
with another. He
was obviously
a very shy man,
unused to being
the main centre of attraction.
But the centre
of attention he
obviously was.
Gradually, we all
gathered courage
to come up and
talk to the great
man, and then he
truly warmed to the occasion. At the table
he delivered one of his famous speeches
on politics and morality.
I met Vaclav Havel a few more times at
international gatherings, but this encounter in Prague in early 1990 was the high
point. I deeply regret that he passed away
before I arrived here again as ambassador
in 2012 – I would have loved nothing more
than to visit him for some informal chats
about the recent history of his country. I
would also have liked to get his analysis
of his own plays, which I have difficulty
in understanding. In this respect, however,
I have found comfort in one of his essays
where he says that he, too, sometimes
found his plays difficult to understand!
It is often said that great prophets are
not honoured in their homeland. With Václav Havel that is not exactly true, but on
the other hand I have been much surprised
to see how often the late President is subjected to unfounded criticism here in the
Czech Republic. In this sense, he shares
his destiny with some of the other truly
great leaders of only 25 years ago, like
Lech Walesa and Vytautas Landsbergis.
But for people in my country and
across the world, and for me personally,
Václav Havel is and will always remain
one of the outstanding, great statesmen of
my lifetime. Now, 25 years after the Velvet Revolution, his moral authority is very
much missed across our continent.
LONDON (WNN) – Swedish utility Vattenfall is suing Germany at the
Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment
Disputes over the closure of the Brunsbüttel and Krümmel nuclear
power plants. The move follows the German government’s decision to
withdraw from nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima accident. According to German media, the Swedish company is seeking EUR 4.7 billion in damages. Following the Fukushima accident in 2011, the German
government announced the withdrawal of the operating licences of eight
German nuclear power plants, which included Vattenfall’s two units.
BRATISLAVA (REU) – The Mibrag unit of Czech energy group Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH) is interested in all of Vattenfall’s brown coal portfolio and possibly other assets belonging
to the Swedish group. In October last year, Vattenfall announced
it might sell its lignite power plants and mines in Germany, potentially raising up to EUR 3 billion, in a retrenchment after write-offs
on past acquisitions sent it deep into the red. “Mibrag, with the
support of EPH, is interested in all of the brown coal portfolio, and
of course if other assets like hydro assets were added it would not
diminish our interest,” EPH’s Daniel Křetínský said.
BUDAPEST (BBJ) – The Hungarian oil company MOL has completed
the takeover of the business activities of Russia’s Lukoil in the Czech
Republic, with assets that include 44 service stations. Following MOL’s
previous takeover of Agip service stations in the Czech Republic from Italy’s ENI, MOL currently operates 192 service stations under the Slovnaft,
Pap Oil, and Lukoil brands in the Czech Republic. According to MOL
Vice-President Lars Höglund, the brands will be united in the course of
2015 under two names – MOL and Pap Oil. Benzina remains the largest
Czech operator, with 338 service stations.
WARSAW (FT) – Europe’s biggest coal miner, Kompania Weglowa, will close four of its mines in southern Poland and axe 4,800
workers in a last-ditch attempt to drag the struggling company back
into profit. Poland has the second-largest coal deposits in Europe
and is desperate to use the fuel to offset a reliance on foreign gas
imports. But tumbling oil prices and the impact of American shale
production on energy prices has reduced the price of coal over the
past 18 months to levels that rendered many of Poland’s mines unviable. Coal mining in Poland employs more than 100,000 people,
mainly in the southern part of the country.
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doing to replace outdated
elevators in “paneláky” –
blocks of flats – and other
communist-era buildings
with safe and modern
“This business area
has been quite relevant
to us during the past ten
years,” says Filipe Nóbrega (photo), the 39-year
old Portuguese who has
been General Manager of
KONE’s operations in the
Czech Republic and Slovakia since 2011. “Its importance has decreased in
the largest cities, as many
buildings have already
been modernised, but we
still expect a significant
part of our business to
come from this segment in
the upcoming years.”
Region’s biggest market
KONE, ranked as one of the world’s
fourth-largest elevator producers, arrived in the then Czechoslovakia in
1991. A decade later, the company
firmed up its Czech footprint by starting a components factory with 220
employees in Ústí nad Labem, which
currently is one of KONE’s three production sites in Europe. With regard
to the tough competition in the local
elevator business, Mr Nóbrega sees a
clear competitive advantage in having
a factory located in the country.
“For sure, this allows us to be more
flexible to customer requirements, to
react faster to any specific requests
and, due to close collaboration with
the factory, to introduce within a short
period of time any quality improvements, which we monitor continuous-
HELSINKI (YLE) – This year sees the 150th anniversary of the
birth of Jean Sibelius. To mark the milestone, Helsinki City Museum has published a new guide booklet highlighting significant
places in the brilliant composer’s life. But rather than a hagiography, the museum aims to give an honest portrait. A present-day
Helsinki café that was once a bank is presented as a pla ce where
the often-broke artist went to beg for loans. The self-guided tour
also includes a house in Järvenpää in which Sibelius tried to rent
an apartment but was rejected because the owner would not take
on heavy drinkers.
ly in our projects,” KONE’s boss in
the Czech Republic says.
While escalators are also an important part of the company’s operations,
KONE’s biggest business in the Czech
Republic is by far the elevator market
– in terms of new installations, as well
as the full replacement of old units.
The company targets all segments and
has a strong position both in the commercial segment (offices; retail; hotels; hospitals) and in the residential
area. Compared to the other Visegrád
countries, the Czech elevator market
boasts quite a vital performance:
“While Poland – with nearly 40
million inhabitants – represents the
biggest new installation market, the
Czech Republic is the region’s biggest full replacement market,” Filipe
Nóbrega says.
COPENHAGEN (CPO) – The Danes are European champs at
prison breaks – either that or prison security is terrible – according to new figures from the European Council. From 2007 to 2011,
there were on average 35.8 escapes from prison per 10,000 inmates, which exceeds Germany’s 1.6 by more than 24 times. Eva
Schmidt, head of Denmark’s crime prevention council, doesn’t
think the problem can be solved with harsher penalties. “It’s not
reasonable to punish prisoners for trying to flee. They have been
handed down punishment and it is we who must ensure that the
punishment is served.”
The KONE boss’s optimism is
also fuelled by recent market developments. The Czech construction sector
was badly hit when the financial crisis
erupted in 2008. As a result, the size
of the elevator and escalator market is
still significantly smaller than it was
prior to the crisis. But in 2014, the
market saw a slight revival. Moreover, KONE has been able to find new
opportunities in terms of segments
and regions to boost its business in the
Currently, the Finnish company is
finalising one of its largest projects in
the Czech Republic ever – the installation of 16 elevators in a landmark
business centre in Prague’s Nové Butovice.
“We have been growing in the
Czech Republic since our establishment in 1991, and our aim for the future is to continue this trajectory of
profitable growth,” Filipe Nóbrega
says. “To achieve this we are constantly committed to exceeding the expectations of our customers while introducing the most innovative solutions
in terms of products and services.”
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n 2014, the elevator and escalator
maker KONE was Europe’s only
producer of industrial machinery to
make it onto Forbes’ list of the world’s
most innovative companies. Few nations have felt the Finnish company’s
modernising drive more strongly than
the Czech Republic.
During the last two decades,
KONE has installed over 6,500 elevators and escalators in the country.
Some of the projects have made headlines in the media, thanks to their record-breaking parameters. The 18 elevators that KONE installed in 2007 in
Prague’s City Tower skyscraper travel
at a speed of six metres per second –
that’s over 20 kilometres per hour –
which makes them the fastest elevators ever installed in the country. Five
years later, the Finnish company won
the mega-prestigious contract to equip
the AZ Tower in Brno, the country’s
tallest building, with six elevators. Less flamboyant, but more important to ordinary Czechs, is the work
KONE’s more than 200 employees are
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STOCKHOLM (LOC) – When Sweden’s security establishment in
January gathered at a conference in Sälen, Gustav Nipe, President
of the Swedish Pirate Party’s youth wing, set up a Wi-Fi network
called “Open Guest”. As the Wi-Fi network was not encrypted, Nipe
says he was able to track which sites people visited, as well as the
emails and text messages of around 100 delegates, including politicians, journalists, and security experts. “The security establishment
in Sälen was pushing for more surveillance, but then leading figures
go and log on to an unsecure W-Fi network,” the unimpressed Pirate
eadquartered in Espoo outside
Helsinki, KONE – “machine”
in Finnish – was founded in 1910
and has currently some 43,000 employees in over 50 countries. In
addition to manufacturing elevators and escalators, the company
provides maintenance services
and builds and services automatic doors and gates. Since 1924,
KONE has been owned by one of
Finland’s wealthiest families, the
Herlin family. The current Chairman of KONE’s Board of Directors (since 2003) is Antti Herlin,
great-grandson of the first owner.
In 2013, the Finnish company had
annual net sales of EUR 6.9 billion.
TRONDHEIM (ADR) – John Jeanette Solstad Remø, a 65-year-old
transgender Norwegian, looks like a woman but is legally a man.
To avoid constant confusion when presenting his identity card, Mr
Remø applied to have his gender officially changed to “woman”
in his ID. However, the Health Ministry declined to comply until Mr
Remø surgically removed his penis and testicles. Mr Remø, however, who is happily married to Mrs Remø, is not willing to undergo
the operation, and complained to the anti-discrimination Ombud. After investigating the case, the Ombud concluded that that Mr Remø
has indeed been subjected to discrimination by the Norwegian state.
“Just the possibility to sit down and speak
for several hours with an experienced politician who has not only achieved great results in
politics, but also managed to combine her career
with family life, was tremendously inspiring to
me,” Lucie Válová says. “Gina is a very energetic woman and I felt her support and understanding from the first moment of our meeting.”
According to Mrs Válová, Czech women
are so poorly represented in politics – they make
up less than 20 percent, both at local and national level – because of two structural problems.
The first is a considerable gender gap in wages.
Ericsson believe that in 2020
we will have 50 billion connected
devices around the world.
In 5 years, there will be over 3 billion subscribers,
who have between 5 and 10 devices connected
to the network each. Their devices will not only
communicate with one another, but also with the
responsive environment.
Connected glasses can show you more than you
see. Connected shoes can make you run faster.
Things finally start to communicate and everything
that can benefit from being connected will be connected.
It is a huge challenge for ICT industry. At Ericsson,
we want to be the driving force of this transformation. With our investments in R&D, we ensure that
our solutions - and our customers - stay in front.
Czech women are on average paid lower wages
than their male colleagues, which logically make
them economically much less independent than
women in Scandinavia. The second problem is
the huge shortfall in child care institutions and a
system in which mothers are encouraged to stay
at home with each child for four years.
“The fact that parents in reality don’t have
a place where their children are looked after obviously makes women’s return to professional
PRAGUE (E15) – The number of microloans, in the Czech Republic
often referred to as “Finnish loans”, is rapidly growing in the country.
Currently more than 30 firms, mainly from the Baltic states, are offering quick loans of up to CZK 5,000. The standard fee for borrowing
CZK 5,000 for a couple of weeks is CZK 1,500, which represents an
annual effective interest rate of one thousand percent. The microloan
business is not regulated by Czech law, which is only effective for consumer loans above CZK 5,000. This type of microloan was first introduced by the Finnish bank Ferratum.
PRAGUE (E15) – Sweden’s IKEA is still the leader in the Czech furniture market with an estimated 20 percent share, but its competitors are
preparing strong expansion. Germany’s Sconto has announced that it
will almost double the floorage of its warehouse in Prague’s Černý most.
In nearby Vysočany, the Austrian chain XXXLutz is building its second
warehouse in Prague. The Austrian company recently also decided to
start building a new warehouse in Brno in 2015. And finally, the Czech
furniture chain Asko, which in 2011 was bought by the German Porta
concern, has announced that it will re-open a warehouse in Olomouc.
i want to run faster
COPENHAGEN (BOR) – Based in Give in Jutland, Goodwind was
in the late 1980s one of the pioneers in the transport of components for the wind turbine industry. After establishing subsidiaries
in Sweden, Norway and Germany the company recently opened a
subsidiary in Poland. The Polish venture is, according Goodwind’s
General Director, Hans Ove Dahl, meant to offset falling growth
in the German market. From its base in Poland, the Danish transporter also intends to target the wind turbine market in the Czech
Republic and Slovakia. Current blades can be more than 80 metres long, which poses demanding transportation challenges.
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I am connected
Country Manager
of Ericsson Czech Republic
n its Global Gender Gap Report, the
World Economic Forum quantifies the
magnitude of gender-based disparities and
tracks their progress over time. While no
single measure can capture the complete
situation, the Global Gender Gap Index
seeks to measure one important aspect of
gender equality: the relative gap between
women and men across four key areas:
health, education, economic participation
and opportunity, and political empowerment. In the WEF’s Global Gender Gap
Report for 2014, the Czech Republic was
ranked 96th out of 142 countries surveyed;
this was the worst result of all countries in
post-communist Europe.
Radim Janda
life difficult,” the Czech social democrat says.
“Moreover, Czech employers very often don’t
offer part-time work.”
As for Czech women’s access to politics,
Lucie Válová supports the Nordic gender
quota system. This is also a part of the Action
Plan for Gender Equality in Politics, which
Minister Jiří Dienstbier will present for the
Government later this year.
“We can discuss whether quotas are an
optimal instrument or not, but the fact is that
they have technically worked in all countries
in which they have been implemented,” Lucie Válová says. “I don’t think quotas are an
everlasting solution, but for a certain period
they can help Czech women acquire a better
position in politics.”
The Czech-Nordic mentoring programme
runs until April 2016. T.B.E I
courtesy photo
fter starting up in September last year, the
Men and Women in Balance initiative – a
Nordic mentoring programme aimed at encouraging more women to participate in Czech politics – is running smoothly. As a part of the 18
month-long project, which is led by the Praguebased Forum 50% NGO, five Danish and five
Norwegian women politicians will function as
personal mentors for 10 hand-picked Czech
colleagues. The programme also includes three
public seminars on gender equality in politics.
The Nordic Chamber’s contribution – pinpointing Danish and Norwegian politicians and
matching them with 10 politicians in the
Czech Republic – was undertaken by
Board member Birger Husted.
“Equal opportunities are a vital
part of the values on which the Nordic
Chamber is based, so it was natural for
us to join the programme as a partner,”
Birger Husted says.
By mid-February, practically all
of the Nordic politicians (representing liberal, social democrat and conservative parties) had visited Prague
and met with their Czech mentees
(representing all major parties, barring
the Communist Party and the Dawn
movement). During March 2015 the Czech
politicians will go to Denmark and Norway to
meet with their mentors.
Gina Lund, a Norwegian social democrat
and deputy minister of labour from 2009-13,
is one of the experienced politicians who has
volunteered as mentor. For her mentee, Lucie Válová, President of the Social Democrat
Youth in the Czech Republic, their discussions
in Prague had a very practical impact.
ness information. As in 2014, we will continue our dedicated efforts to
become more visible in other media.
photo: Gaute Bruvik
Long-term Strategy
2014 was a rich and eventful year for the Nordic Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic. Continuing our initiative from previous
years, we progressed in our work to broaden the Chamber’s activities,
with more focus on directly enhancing trade and commercial relations
between the Czech Republic and the Nordic countries. Despite the loss
of several large companies and the difficulties that still prevail in Czech
economy, we managed to keep our membership base stable; our Transparency Working Group launched a practical guide that received very
positive feedback; while both the staff at our head office and the Chamber’s media presentation team have been significantly strengthened.
This year, the Nordic Chamber celebrates its 20th anniversary, and
I believe we have justified reason to be proud. Since our foundation
as the Swedish Chamber in 1995, we have become one of the larger
foreign chambers in the country, uniting almost 140 Nordic-related
companies that give work to around 59,000 people all over the Czech
Republic. I am really looking forward to a number of special events
Staff, Organisation and Media
During 2014, the Nordic Chamber’s administration continued to feel
the positive impact of its two student trainees, who were employed on a
part-time basis. In addition, the Chamber in October last year employed
an Event Coordinator, Zuzana Kanioková, who has also been assigned
administrative tasks.
As a result of these staff additions, the Chamber’s administration
has been running with great efficiency. This has in turn enabled Executive Director Lea Turcarová to focus more on recruiting new members
and organising the Chamber’s Working Groups, as well as developing
the Chamber’s relations with various ministries and trade organisations.
As in the previous year, the Nordic Chamber in 2014 also applied
considerable energy to ensuring smooth communication between its
that we will arrange throughout the year to mark our 20th jubilee. Let
me also sincerely thank Nilfisk-Advance for becoming the Chamber’s
General Partner in 2015.
In parallel with the festivities, we will continue our ambitious strategy to make the Nordic Chamber an ever stronger and more visible
organisation. In 2015, we will use our favourable financial situation
to focus more on business development that will generate a broader
base of services for you, our members. Let me also assure you that the
Chamber will continue its two decades-long work to promote Nordic
values – transparency, equal opportunities and sustainability – in the
Czech Republic.
I look forward to continuing our fruitful co-operation in 2015.
Stefan Lager
Chamber President
head office and members and potential members. To make our information services faster and more up to-date, our electronic newsletter,
eNews, has been published monthly, while the printed Nordic News
was reduced to two issues.
Efforts to increase the Nordic Chamber’s visibility among the
Czech public last year yielded favourable results. In addition to our
attracting a large number of unique visitors to our new and modernised
website, local media repeatedly reported on Chamber events, and the
Business Soirée magazine in October published a large-scale interview
with the Chamber’s President.
Hopefully, our new webpage will further boost the Chamber in the
field of communication. So far, it mainly lists Chamber events, but in
the future we would like to transform it into a source for important busi-
Continuing an initiative that was launched two years ago, the Nordic
Chamber in 2014 implemented a long-term Strategic Plan encompassing the following key areas of activity:
• Trade promotion
• Business support
• Sustainable business
• Corporate social responsibility
• Social and sports events
•Working groups – Transparency; Green Activities; HR &
As an additional element to the Chamber’s long-term strategy, the
Board in 2014 decided to establish cooperation with trade unions in the
Nordic countries. This cooperation is still in its initial phase (with the
focus on information sharing), but our intention is that the cooperation
will develop into organised visits from Nordic trade union delegations
to the Czech Republic.
To the Nordic Chamber, this is a welcome addition to our existing
activities aimed at enhancing trade and commercial relations between
the Czech Republic and the Nordic region.
Moreover, in 2015, we intend to implement our planned expansion to Bohemia’s and Moravia’s regional centres – Brno, Ostrava and
Plzeň. In practical terms, the Chamber will (in cooperation with local
city councils and regional business organisations) arrange information
meetings about Nordic business culture and opportunities for Czech
exporters in Scandinavia.
Events and Working Groups
The Nordic Chamber last year arranged a total of 26 events, which included 11 Breakfast Meetings, 10 Social & Sports events and six Business Mixers. All in all, this was slightly more than the number of events
arranged in 2014. The total number of participants in the gatherings
– around 1,760 persons – grew by around 26 percent on the previous
year (1,400).
True to tradition, our Social and Sport Events – most notably the
Strawberry Party, the Nordic Chamber Golf Masters and the Lucia
Christmas Party – were especially warmly received by our members;
the Lucia Party had a record 200 participants – among them more than
100 children!
There is stable interest among Chamber members in our events; however, participation continues to be largely limited to the same group
of people. Naturally, every member is cordially welcome at any event,
but we need to reach out to those who seldom participate in a Chamber
event with the message that each kind of event – be it a Breakfast Meeting, Social & Sports event or Business Mixer – represents a different
platform for networking.
The Nordic Chambers’ two Working Groups – Green Activities
and the Transparency Group for Business Ethics – continued in 2014
the successful work they launched in the previous year.
The first, led by Miloslav Hloušek (SKF Czech), continued its
campaign to encourage Chamber members to switch from costly and
environmentally-unfriendly bottled water to tap water. At a press conference in November, the Nordic Chamber’s Transparency Group, led
by Dana Hrdinová (Skanska) and Zdeňka Voštová (ABB), presented
their Transparency Document to the Czech public. The paper contains
a set of basic principles and practical guidelines on transparent business
conduct, and is particularly intended to help smaller companies to grasp
and implement the requirements in a professional manner. One more
working group, HR & Management, is still under preparation.
As a new service, the Chamber in 2014 offered its corporate members the possibility to be divided into working groups according to their
areas of industry – manufacturing, energy, construction, services, trade,
etc. On the basis of each group’s interests and preferences, the Chamber’s intention was to lay on tailor-made events and other arrangements.
This initiative, however, did not meet the expected interest among the
Nordic Chamber’s members.
Chamber Cooperation
Continuing our more than decade-long tradition, the Nordic Chamber also in 2014 enjoyed a smooth and fruitful collaboration with the
Nordic embassies and their trade representations in Prague. When our
Honorary Chairman, Norway’s Ambassador Jens Eikaas, last autumn
returned to Oslo, he was replaced by the longest-serving Nordic envoy
resident at that time, Sweden’s Ambassador Annika Jagander.
We cordially thank the two Ambassadors for accepting the honorary office and dedicating their time to the Nordic Chamber as Honorary
Chairwoman/Chairman in 2014.
Last year, we also continued our long-time cooperation with other
foreign chambers in the Czech Republic with several arrangements –
including the first ever Nordic-Swiss Business Mixer – and the biggest
inter-chamber event – Czech Beer Fest 2014 – co-arranged by the Nordic Chamber, which attracted more than 410 visitors.
Moreover, the Chamber in 2014 broadened its ongoing cooperation
with NGO Reconstruction of the State to implement anti-corruption reforms in the Czech Republic. As a partner in the mentoring programme
Men and Women in Political Balance, which runs until April 2016, the
Chamber is also actively participating in enhancing Czech women’s
access to political life.
Membership Development
Unfortunately, six members of the Chamber’s A segment – companies
with more than 100 employees – last year decided to terminate their
memberships. We deeply regret their decision, but respect that even
the biggest companies are keeping a tight control on costs. Luckily, we
managed to offset the outflow with a number of new members, some of
them also in the A segment.
At the end of 2014, the Nordic Chamber had 138 corporate members (Chart 1) and ten Individuals. With a share of 35 percent, Sweden
is still the country of origin of the largest group of corporate members
(Chart 2); however, Czech companies with a Nordic connection, currently making up 32 percent, represented the fastest-growing group
among our new members in 2014 – up six percentage points since
Currently, companies with up to 100 employees make up 83 percent of our corporate members (Chart 3), which corresponds to the situation from 2013. Companies with more than 100 employees currently
constitute around 17 percent of the Nordic Chamber’s membership
Throughout our 20-year history, our experience has been that the
inflow and outflow of members come in waves, but that this is not a
direct reflection on the Chamber’s activities. However, the gradual
rejuvenation of corporate members has a positive side effect, as new
members tend to take more a more active part in the Chamber’s events.
As for future growth, we see a certain potential in the regions
outside of Prague. Last year, we strengthened our activities in Bohemia and Moravia; our event in Ostrava, co-arranged with Finland’s
honorary consulate, was particularly successful. We hope that our
regional initiative in the long term will lead to a continued increase
in the number of new members.
Board of Directors 2014
In the last election period, two of the 11 members of the Board of Directors were women, signalling that the Nordic Chamber is slowly improving its gender balance. Last year was the first time ever that not
all Nordic nationalities were represented in the Board, as an Icelandic
representative was missing.
The spread of industries represented by the Board members was
deemed favourable, although a stronger presence of companies with
more than 100 employees would have been welcome. Over the course
of last year, the Nordic Chamber’s Board had the following members:
H.E. Annika Jagander,
Ambassador of Sweden, Honorary Chairwoman (from October)
H.E. Jens Eikaas
Ambassador of Norway, Honorary Chairman (until September)
Stefan Lager
(SWE, representing Zenterio, SWE), President
Petr Lukasík
(CZ, representing Tieto Czech, FIN), Vice President
Marie Passburg
(SWE, representing Skanska Property, SWE), Vice President
Jiří Pech
(CZ, representing individual member), Treasurer
Andrea Colantoni
(SWE, representing Hudson Global Resources, USA), Board Member
Birger Husted
(DK, representing Husted s.r.o. – Human Capital, CZ), Board Member
Nils Jebens
(NOR, representing Kampa Group, CZ), Board Member
Hannu Kasi
(FIN, representing ABB, SWE), Board Member
Zdeněk Majer
(CZ, representing Škoda Transportation, CZ), Board Member
Marika Přinosilová
(CZ, representing SAAB Technologies/Gripen Int., SWE), Board Member
Radek Socha
(CZ, representing SKF, SWE), Board Member
Challenges for 2015
y/y index (%)
26 096
41 411
15 249
19 084
16 249
16 201
47 433
52 975
y/y index (%)
16 817
18 861
8 045
10 296
1 421
1 296
28 165
14 417
26 333
27 692
Imports from
in CZK bill.
Source: ČSÚ
photo: Morten Helgesen
The Nordic Chamber’s main challenges in the coming year will
be to continue our membership drive and the effort to broaden
our base of services for our members. We will also intensify
our cooperation with business organisations, both in the Czech
regions and in the Nordic countries. The goal is to bolster the
Chamber’s role as a practical vehicle for building Czech-Nordic
business relations.
In addition, we will intensify our long-standing focus on an
open dialogue between the Chamber and its members. This year,
the Chamber’s Board will for the first time be elected under an
online election system. Hopefully, this important change will be
followed by more novelties that will make communication even
easier and faster. The voice of each and every member of the
Nordic Chamber shall be heard.
Exports to
Incl. Individuals
IN 2015
over 100 employees
31-100 employees
11-30 employees
1-10 employees
courtesy photo
Already in the first years after the Velvet
Revolution, members of Prague’s Swedish
community, on the initiative of Sweden’s
then Trade Councillor Sture Lindberg, created an informal business
but it was
only in May
the Swedish
Chamber of
was officially
Its first Presidents were
Pavel Stehlík
of Mölnlycke, followed by Jiří Kladiva from NTR and
SKF’s Vartan Vartanian.
Nils Silfverschiöld, a Swedish businessman and previously a ministerial advisor in
the Czech Republic’s privatisation bonanza, participated in the foundation as Board
Member. In 1998, he was elected as Chamber President, and remained in that position
for nine years. Looking back at the start two
decades ago from his estate in Klågerup, outside Malmö, southern Sweden, he definitely
likes what he sees.
“The growth in the Swedish – and later,
the Nordic – Chamber of Commerce during these 20 years is simply unbelievable,”
Nils Silfverschiöld says. “What I see today
is a healthy and vital organisation; I am truly
proud of having taken part in its foundation.”
Before stepping down in 2007, Nils led
the Chamber through some important steps.
In 1999, the Swedish and four other EU
Chambers established the Euro-Czech Forum,
which grew to become the largest foreign investment and employer group in the country
and a vocal advocate for economic reforms.
Then came the Chamber’s split from the
Swedish Trade Council, the subsequent opening of an independent office, and its renaming
as the Nordic Chamber of Commerce, completed in 2005.
What were the main motives for establishing the Swedish Chamber in 1995?
On 1 January 1995, Sweden became an EU
member and the Czech Republic was not,
so an essential question was both to discuss
how Swedish companies could get access
to the Czech market as well as how Czechbased exporters could acquire good access
to the EU market. And of course, there
was also the social aspect – we wanted to
establish a forum where Swedish businesspeople could meet up, discuss their experiences and expand their network of contacts.
The response among Swedish businesses,
especially larger companies, was hugely
positive, because the legal framework in
the EU and the Czech Republic was very
different, so the companies often faced big
The Euro-Czech Forum no longer exists,
but is such a European pressure group
needed when the Czech Republic has been
an EU member for 10 years?
I believe that inter-chamber cooperation still
has a purpose. Communication is always beneficial, and there are definitely issues which
it is helpful to discuss; legal business issues,
such as labour legislation, are not specific to
individual nations but to individual business
sectors. Moreover, Czech decision-makers
displayed an impressive will to reform to get
into the EU, and it’s essential – both to the
Czech Republic and the Nordic countries –
that the brainstorming to find ways to improve
the EU’s competitiveness continues.
Over the last 20 years, the number of corporate members of the Nordic Chamber has
skyrocketed from 30 to 140, but the number of Nordic-related companies that have
not joined is even higher. Is the growth an
absolute success?
In my opinion this is an unquestioned success – don’t forget that managing directors
of Nordic companies in the Czech Republic are rotating at a fast speed, so they don’t
have much time to consider the advantages
of membership, and they are under constant
pressure from their headquarters to cut costs.
When you add the financial crisis on top of
that, it’s evident that the Chamber’s Executive Director Lea Turcarová and President
Stefan Lager have done a fantastic job to
reverse the outflow of members after 2008
and to keep the number so high. It was also
impressive to see how the Chamber handled
the practical organisation of King Carl XVI
Gustaf and the Royal Technology Mission’s
visit in Prague in 2012. There are other chambers more visible to the Czech public, but the
Nordic Chamber has limited resources and
would need stronger financial support to keep
a higher public profile.
The growth perhaps also proves it was the
right decision to transform the Swedish
Chamber into the Nordic Chamber?
This change had my support, but it was primarily pushed by Birger Husted, the Chamber Board’s Danish member. Today it’s quite
clear that this step has strengthened the organisation.
Since the Chamber’s inception,
the Czech Republic has undergone an amazing modernisation, but TI still ranks it as one
of the most corruption-prone
in the EU. Can you explain this
In the 1990s, corruption was
clearly a very large problem and
I believe corruption still exists in
Czech business life. However,
hopefully this has decreased during the last 20 years – both in the Czech Republic and all over the EU. My perception is
that corruption is not as widespread as it was,
but I believe that mainly in the state sector and
public tenders you might still find it. Also re-
member that TI’s rankings measure people’s
perception of corruption, not documented incidents. Because there has been a lot of focus
on this problem during the last two decades,
Czechs presume perhaps that corruption is
still more widespread than it is, but I’m not
Nordic companies such as Saab/Gripen are
still expanding their Czech operations. Do
you also see opportunities for Nordic companies in other business sectors?
Absolutely; for instance, in software and
technical development, the Czech Republic
is highly attractive. Thanks to its geographic
location in the middle of Europe and good infrastructure, this country offers unrivalled ac-
photo: Jaroslav Fišer
cess to the EU market, which is why we have
seen the boom in the logistics business. Today, there is no practical difference between
running an export company in Malmö or in
Pilsen, except that Czech labour costs are sig-
nificantly lower than in Sweden. Moreover,
Czechs and Scandinavians communicate very
easily, and we like ice hockey, golf and many
of the same sports – in short, our mentality is
very similar, don’t you agree?
I do, but I’m not sure if Sweden’s secondbiggest business tycoon could double as
Finance Minister and owner of Dagens Nyheter and Expressen ...
In principle, I don’t see anything wrong in
a successful businessman like Andrej Babiš
entering politics to work for the good of his
country. But I haven’t been much in the Czech
Republic in the last few years and therefore
don’t feel competent to comment on this. In
any case, the nice part of democracy is that
things can be changed in the next elections!
Nils, let’s take a look into the future. Will
the Nordic Chamber continue to grow so
that by 2035 it will be bigger than, say, the
American Chamber in the Czech Republic?
Obviously, I really hope that the positive
trend will continue, but it’s hard to compare
with the Americans, because they come from
outside the EU and have to adapt to bigger
changes, which makes it easier for AmCham
to attract new members. However, this competitive advantage will disappear in parallel
with the ongoing talks between the USA and
the EU to harmonise their commercial laws.
Actually, when you consider America’s economic power and the size of its population,
the Nordic Chamber passed AmCham in relative strength long ago.
Total turnover (%) in manufacturing
PRAGUE (TBE) – Personnel in Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec’s security detail in late November 2014 intercepted a letter addressed to the minister containing cyanide capsules. The letter was,
according to officials in the Interior Ministry, sent from an unspecified
“country in Scandinavia”; the intention was clearly that it should be
handed over to Mr Chovanec personally. “The letter’s contents were
lethal, but Minister Chovanec’s life was never in danger. However, we
take this incident very seriously,” said police inspector Ivana Nguyenová. Security sources suggested that either terrorists or drug smugglers
were responsible for the cyanide letter.
OSLO (SSO) – Norway’s Scatec Solar, which is among the ten
largest solar plant owners in the Czech Republic, has signed a
partnership agreement with Norfund, the Norwegian Investment
Fund for Developing Countries, to jointly invest in solar power projects. Norfund has extensive experience from successful investments in developing countries, and has been a partner to Scatec
Solar in the realisation of four solar PV projects in Africa totalling
200 MW. Scatec Solar will hold 70 percent of the joint investment
company. Scatec Solar currently delivers power from 220 MW in
the Czech Republic, South Africa and Rwanda.
PRAGUE (CRO) – More than half of the Czech Republic’s industrial
sector is controlled by foreign companies, according to the Czech
Statistical Office (ČSÚ). In 2012, the revenues of foreign-owned
Czech-based industrial companies reached over CZK 3 trillion, which
represented nearly 59 percent of all industrial companies. Added
value created by these firms reached CZK 501 billion, which was
half of the total value. Most Czech-based industrial companies are
controlled by owners from other EU countries (mainly Germany), followed by the US, while Russian firms own relatively few industrial
companies based in the Czech Republic.
Great Britain
Czech Republic
EU average
Total turnover (%) in manufacturing
Source: Eurostat 2011.
STOCKHOLM (FRY) – Updating its iconic logo from 1962, Electrolux
has introduced a new visual identity for the company brand. The new design is intended to have more “stopping” power and to stand out from the
crowd wherever consumers find Electrolux. “Electrolux is on a journey
to become a world-class consumer marketing company,” said MaryKay
Kopf, Chief Marketing Officer. “A key ingredient of this is to create an exciting and differentiating brand experience that is consistent across every
consumer touch point.” The new visual identity will be seen everywhere
where consumers find Electrolux – in stores, online, on packaging and
through mobile devices.
PRAGUE (TBE) – Denmark’s Rockwool, one of the world’s largest
producers of stone wool, will by the end of 2015 have completed the
ongoing modernisation of its plant in Bohumín. As a result of the modernisation, which is estimated to require CZK 500 million in total investments, Rockwool will hire 85 new people. With a total of 230 employees, Rockwool has become one of the largest employers in the
Silesian city. Expectations of growth in the Czech construction market
and the possible launch of state subsidies for energy-saving projects
through improved isolation are the main reasons for the Danes beefing up production capacity in Bohumín.
PRAGUE (TBE) – The Danish investment company Kirk Kapital,
which is the investment arm of the Kirk Johansen family, the owners of LEGO, has acquired
25 percent of the shares in
Kompan. Headquartered in
Odense, Kompan is one of
the world’s leading manufacturers of outdoor playgrounds
and playground equipment.
In 2013, Kompan opened a
global production and distribution centre in Brno, which
currently handles 80 percent
of the company’s total production. In 2013, Kompan’s
revenue was approximately
DKK 1.3 billion. Kirk Investment bought the 25 percent
share from the PFA pension
fund. The value of the transactions has not been published.
courtesy photo
The main goal of the law
is to implement security
standards for the information
systems of public administration authorities and critical infrastructure elements.
Many of those elements are
not owned by the state itself.
That is why the new cybersecurity law establishes avenues for legal action against
those who will not comply.
The security standards will be
enforced with periodical compliance audits of
all public administration bodies and also private
elements of the critical national infrastructure,
starting 2016.
The government coordination agency,
which can immediately respond to computer
incidents, is called the Computer Emergency
Response Team (CERT). The agency is part of
both the national and international cyber threat
early warning systems. CERT optimises options
used to identify potential cyberattacks and coordinate countermeasures and remedial actions.
In cooperation with other relevant government
agencies, the centre coordinates and proposes
preventive measures to avert or thwart potential
attacks against the information and communication systems of the state and elements of the
critical national infrastructure.
he Czech Republic, which usually lags behind in European regulations, is ahead of
the crowd for now. The new cyber security law
has put the Czech Republic in first place in the
race to create a comprehensive country-wide cybersecurity solution. The law has already passed
both chambers of parliament and been signed by
the president and has come into force in 2015.
And what is so great about that, you ask?
Well, the Czech Republic will increase its resilience and ability to respond to new threats.
Such threats have already impacted some European countries. The massive attacks on Estonia
in 2007 were a prime example of the vulnerability of one country’s cyberspace. Attackers
swamped the websites of various Estonian organisations, including the Estonian parliament,
banks, ministries, newspapers and broadcasters,
and seized their functions for a couple of days,
mostly with “distributed denial of service” attacks. The intruders were allegedly connected to
the Russian youth organization Nashi.
The new shield in Central Europe
The new law definitely has some issues, mostly
with detailed descriptions of some key processes
courtesy photo
HELSINKI (YLE) – Internet service providers in Finland will be receiving
new guidelines and coming under closer scrutiny. The new provisions
are aimed at preventing the repeat of a recent incident when a mechanical digger disrupted international web services for thousands of Finns
for several hours, clearly demonstrating how vulnerable the Internet can
be. During the disruption, international net traffic was re-routed via Tallinn, but that link became overloaded. Currently, the bulk of Finland’s
global net connections are routed through Sweden. Efforts being undertaken to make international Internet access less vulnerable, include a
new direct high-speed connection from Finland to Germany.
that could undermine cybersecurity efforts. For
example, it forces every organisation to report
security incidents to the system, but does not
precisely specify how such reports should be
transmitted. Imagine sending a cybersecurity
threat report via carrier-pigeon! This exposes
the whole system to the risk of errors and false
Also, where the lines are is still disputed.
Can the whole network be cut off under attack?
Where do we draw the line between security attack and coincidence? These and other questions
must be answered during the implementation of
the system to prevent subsequent complications.
And who is going to answer them? The greatest
burden will now rest with Czech government officials, who are expected to implement the law
and smooth any sharp edges.
Jan Andrš
New Frontier Group
resident Miloš Zeman last year signed
into law a bill on cybersecurity. The legislation, put forward by the National Security Authority, introduces rules for cooperation between the public and private sectors in
preventing IT attacks. The act establishes a
coordination centre, located in Brno, to allow
a fast response to attacks by communications
providers; it requires providers to report security incidents to the National Security Authority, and gives the agency the authority to
declare a nation-wide state of cyber emergency. The legislation will enter into force in
January 2015.
celand must balance growth in the power
and tourism industries with nature conservation, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says.
The OECD’s third Environmental Performance Review of Iceland states that Iceland’s
pristine environment and its glaciers, volcanoes and underground springs “bring major
economic benefits via renewable energy and
tourism”, but that continued growth in tourism
and power generation for aluminium smelting
must be managed carefully in order to preserve the country’s natural assets.
The report notes that Iceland’s electricity
output has more than doubled since 2000 to
nearly five times the amount needed by the
population – primarily to power three foreignowned aluminium smelters – while the number of visitors to Iceland tripled between 2000
and 2014.
Sustainable growth?
Director of the Icelandic Tourist Board Ólöf
Ýrr Atladóttir stated that while tourism is the
biggest contributor to economic growth in Iceland at the moment, the tourist industry will in
the future not be able to cope with a continued
increase, if it will have the same magnitude as
in recent years.
For the first time in the country’s history,
services exports, of which tourism is the main
pillar, are proving more profitable for the national economy than products exports, reports.
“It has been reported before that tourism
is sustaining economic growth – which is of
course the clearest indication of how important
the industry has become – and that it must be
tended so that it can remain important in the future,” Ólöf reasoned.
The number of tourists coming to Iceland has increased vastly in the past years,
due (among other reasons) to the
attention the country received after the volcanic eruptions in 2010
and 2011, the devaluation of the
Icelandic króna and an increase
in low-cost flights to the northern
Atlantic island.
“Iceland is ‘in’, which is
pleasing in many senses. But at
the same time, there are many
tasks we have to deal with if this
is to continue to be the case,” Ólöf
said, adding that it is difficult to
estimate how many tourists the
country can handle.
Cities can handle more tourists than sensitive natural hotspots, Ólöf explained. “We must
find a balance. The industry will
not be able to continue the rapid
growth of the past few years,
around and above 20 percent annually, long-term.”
In recent months, landowners have expressed concern over the growing number of tourists visiting sites on their
land, which have started to show damage.
According to the Icelandic Tourist Board
the proportion of income from foreign tour-
SOUL (REU) – Despite its poverty and isolation, North Korea has poured
resources into a sophisticated cyber-warfare cell called Bureau 121, defectors from the secretive state said as Pyongyang was accused of a
crippling attack on computers at Sony Pictures Entertainment. Military
hackers are among the most talented and best rewarded people in North
Korea, and are handpicked and trained from as young as 17, said Jang
Se-yul, who studied with them at North Korea’s military college for computer science, before defecting to the South six years ago. The Bureau
121 unit comprises about 1,800 cyber-warriors, and is considered to be
the elite of the military.
COPENHAGEN (LOC) – Cimber Air, based in Sønderborg in southern Denmark, will be no more as of April this year. “SAS didn’t want
to continue our current contract on four CRJ 200 airplanes from
April 2015, and with that the basis for our continued existence has
collapsed,” Cimber co-owner Jørgen Nielsen said. Cimber was established in 1950 as Cimber Air. In 2008, the company bought parts
of the bankrupt Sterling Airlines and changed its name to Cimber
Sterling. Four years later, Cimber Sterling itself declared bankruptcy before being given a lifeline in the form of an aircraft lease
contract with SAS.
OSLO (NTB) – Equipment that can be used to eavesdrop on mobile
phones of government members and leading politicians has been discovered in several places in the Oslo area, the Aftenposten newspaper has revealed. The so-called IMSI catchers, hidden in fake mobile
base stations, can be used to monitor all mobile activity in the vicinity.
The paper conducted tests close to important buildings in central Oslo
and discovered a number of the devices, including some placed close
to the Prime Minister’s residence and to government offices. It is not
known who placed the equipment, and no Norwegian agency has admitted responsibility.
HELSINKI (HTI) – In its list of the safest airlines in the world for
2015, ranks Finnair in the top ten. Australia’s
Qantas was at the top, while Finnair and nine other airlines, among
them British Airways and Lufthansa, were listed in alphabetical order. The airlines in the top ten “are always at the forefront of safety
innovation and launching new planes,” according to the website.
The review team comprises aviation journalists
who examined the latest annual reports, accident reports and operational history of every airline in the world. Finnair had its last
fatal accident in 1963.
ists was 15.4 percent of GDP in 2013; tourism’s share of foreign exchange earnings has
grown to 26.8 percent. In 2000, the annual
number of visitors exceeded the total resident population (300,000) for the first time.
Since then, tourism has grown by about 9.3
courtesy photo
courtesy photo
percent on average each year. Some 998,800
foreigners visited Iceland in 2014. Jobs in the
tourism industry were estimated at 9,241 in
2009, which amounted to 5.1 percent of the
total workforce.
STOCKHOLM (SPO) – From late March, SAS will open nine new routes
from several Scandinavian airports. For the first time, SAS customers
can fly directly to Salzburg. This route starts in Oslo. Simultaneously,
SAS will launch direct flights from Stockholm and Budapest. “SAS has
been expanding its route network for some time now, with several new
destinations and routes, and we are continuing to improve the range
of destinations we offer to our customers. We have launched 100 new
routes over the last two years, and next year we are adding nine more,”
says Eivind Roald, Executive Vice-President at SAS.
courtesy photo
All photos Jaroslav Fišer
All photos Jaroslav Fišer
STOCKHOLM (REU) – Peter Wallenberg, the elder statesman of Sweden’s Wallenberg business dynasty, passed away in Stockholm in midJanuary, aged 88. Mr Wallenberg was Chairman of the family’s listed
investment vehicle, Investor, from 1982 to 1997. Investor owns major
stakes in Ericsson, Atlas Copco, Electrolux, and a number of other bluechip Swedish companies, the total value of which is estimated at SEK 82
billion. Under Peter Wallenberg’s chairmanship, Investor also broadened
its focus, which led to the mergers of some of its major Swedish investments and the creation of power engineering group ABB, pharmaceutical
company AstraZeneca and forestry products maker Stora Enso.
PRAGUE (FVE) – In late 2014, Finland’s Honorary Consul in northern
Moravia, Petr Lukasík, and the Nordic Chamber of Commerce arranged a seminar in Ostrava on opportunities for Czech businesses
in Finland and the Nordic region. The target of the one-day session,
arranged with the support of the regional commercial chamber, was
to explain Nordic business culture and how it differs from Central
European traditions. The Moravian business people were also presented with a list of current opportunities for cooperation with Nordic
companies. At the end of the seminar, the participants had the possibility to continue their discussions in a sauna.
PRAGUE (CIA) – ČKD Blansko Holding has signed a contract with Sweden’s Fortum to refurbish two Kaplan turbines at Svarthalsforsen hydroelectric power plant in Jämtland province. According to ČKD Blansko
Project Manager, Michal Hájek, the contract is worth almost EUR 7 million, with an option for an additional EUR 3 million until 2018. Within the
contract’s framework, ČKD will supply new impellers, distribution blades
and hydraulic control. ČKD Blansko, a manufacturer of heavy vertical
turning lathes in both single-column and double-column versions, is a
Czech engineering company focusing on the hydro-energy market. The
company is owned by the Russian engineering giant Tyazhmash.
PRAGUE (PPO) – The Czech capital offers the second cheapest
leases in Central and Eastern Europe, with 330,500 square metres
of new office space scheduled to become available over the next two
years due to new development projects. “By the end of 2015, the vacancy rate is expected to reach the level of 16 percent and on-going
downward pressure on the highest rents is assumed as well,” says
Katarina Wojtusiak of CBRE, a commercial real estate services and
investment firm. Compared to the other large cities in the region, only
Slovakia offers cheaper leases; the most expensive office space is
in Warsaw and Vienna.
Nordic Chamber of Commerce
ABB s.r.o.
Alfa Laval spol. s r.o.
AstraZeneca Czech Republic s.r.o.
Atlas Copco s.r.o.
Axis Communications s.r.o.
Bath de Luxe s.r.o. Eurotrade Denmark
Bent Walde - Jensen s.r.o.
Berendsen Textil Servis s.r.o.
Berger & Partners s.r.o
BIM Czech Republic s.r.o.
Bird & Bird, s.r.o.
Boutique hotel Jalta & Plaza Alta Hotel
CEE-Nordic Trade - Matti Lilja
Chr. Hansen Czech Republic s.r.o.
COLOPLAST A/S odštěpný závod
Control System International a.s.
Cook Communications s.r.o.
CTP | CTPark Humpolec
Czech Engineering AB
Československá obchodní banka a. s.
Dejmark Czech s.r.o.
DNV GL Business Assurance Czech Republic s.r.o.
DRILL B.S. spol. s r.o.
Družstevní závody Dražice - strojírna s.r.o.
DSV Air & Sea Czech Republic s.r.o.
EBO Reality s.r.o.
Edward Lynx s.r.o.
Embassy of Finland
Embassy of Sweden
Ensto Czech s.r.o.
ERICSSON spol. s r.o.
EUROALARM Assistance Prague s.r.o.
FACSON spol. s r.o.
Faiveley Transport Třemošnice s.r.o.
FINNY s.r.o.
Galard Fashion
Gärde Wesslau Advokatbyrå
Getinge Czech Republic s.r.o.
Global Blue Czech Republic s.r.o.
Golf & Spa Resort Konopiště
Grant Help, s.r.o.
Greencarrier Freight Services Czech Republic s.r.o.
Harding Safety Czech s.r.o.
Havel, Holásek & Partners s.r.o., advokátní kancelář
Hempel (Czech Republic) s.r.o.
Hilton Prague, Quinn Hotels Praha a.s.
Honorary Consulate of the Iceland
Hudson Global Resources s.r.o.
Husted s.r.o.
IFS Czech s.r.o.
ISS Facility Services s.r.o.
Jotun Powder Coatings CZ a.s.
KAMPA Group s.r.o.
Kocián Šolc Balaštík, advokátní kancelář
KONE a.s.
LeasePlan Česká republika s.r.o.
LEGO Trading s.r.o.
Lindex s.r.o.
LK Pumpservice spol. s r.o.
LLENTAB s. r.o.
Loomis Czech Republic a.s.
Lundbeck Česká republika s.r.o.
Marine Harvest Central & Eastern Europe s.r.o.
Mercuri International s.r.o.
Multi-Wing CZ s.r.o.
NCC Purchasing Group CEE s.r.o.
NIELSEN MEINL, advokátní kancelář s.r.o.
Nilfisk-Advance s.r.o.
NORDEX AGENTUR spol. s r.o.
Novo Nordisk s.r.o.
NSG Morison advisory s.r.o.
OEM Automatic spol. s r.o.
Oras International OY
Orion Diagnostica, Branch Office CZ, HU, PL, SK
Saab Technologies s.r.o.
Sandvik CZ s.r.o.
Sapa Building System s.r.o.
SAS Scandinavian Airlines Systems
Scandique s.r.o.
Scatec Solar s.r.o.
Securitas ČR s.r.o.
Skanska a.s.
Skanska Property Czech Republic s.r.o.
SKF CZ a.s.
Stance Communications, s.r.o.
Stora Enso Praha s.r.o.
Sweden Telecom s.r.o.
Šafra & partneři s.r.o. advokátní kancelář
Tetra Pak Česká republika s.r.o.
The Mark Luxury Hotel Prague
The Royal Bank of Scotland N.V.
Tieto Czech s.r.o.
Trans Europe Chemicals s.r.o.
University of Pittsburgh, Katz Graduate School of Business
Vacon s.r.o.
VagnerDesign s.r.o.
Valcon Prague s.r.o.
VOLVO Auto Czech s.r.o.
VOLVO Truck Czech s.r.o.
YIT Stavo s.r.o.
Zátiší Catering Group a.s.
Anomaly Pictures, s.r.o.
Bohemia Properties a.s. hotel DUO
Direct People
Grant Help s.r.o.
Holubová advokáti s.r.o.
LEGO Production
PELIKÁN KROFTA KOHOUTEK advokátní kancelář, s.r.o. Stance Communications, s.r.o.
PETERKA & PARTNERS v.o.s. advokátní kancelář 3kont s.r.o.
XO foods
Pöyry Environment a.s.
Royal Danish Embassy
Royal Norwegian Embassy
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ilsen, western Bohemia’s industrial
hub, has been named the EU’s Capital
of Culture for 2015. What will the title bring
to the city and the Pilsen region?
Over the course of its existence, the European Capital of Culture project has been
proven to bring valuable benefits to those cities that did not underestimate the preparation
process and that also kept in mind the aim
of the sustainable development of the city
and the surrounding region on the basis of
creativity. The title has so far had a positive
long-term impact on all host cities in the areas of economic and social development and
seen an increase in tourism, the restoration of
cultural facilities and infrastructure, and the
development of the creative industries – all
of which has brought new jobs.
For example, in 2008, Liverpool attracted an extra 9.7 million tourists and made a
net profit of GBP 800 million from the title,
whilst the cost of the project was GBP 117
million. In Graz, Austria, the European Capital of Culture project generated additional
revenues from tourism amounting to EUR 74
million and brought long-term benefits to the
local economy. The Ruhr-Essen area attracted over 6.5 million tourists (an increase of
13.4 percent) thanks to the project, and these
tourists created additional gross revenue of
about EUR 90 million by staying in hotels.
Sustainable growth?
2015 is therefore going to be a year of opportunities for Pilsen. It will be up to local economic
entities how they rise
to the challenge. We
will undoubtedly see
much higher numbers
of people coming to
visit Western Bohemia in 2015 than we
have in previous years
– both from across the
Czech Republic and
from abroad; the prestigious tourist guide
Lonely Planet has already chosen Pilsen as one of the top ten European destinations for 2014.
The anticipated economic effects of the EU
Capital of Culture project can be separated in
a simplified way into three categories: an increase in the numbers of visitors to Pilsen; an
increase in the length of visitors’ stay in the
city; and an increase in the number of overnight
stays. These will all have a direct effect on the
economic results of service providers.
The high profile of the project worldwide
will provide a substantial boost for traditional
local products. The coming year gives us the
opportunity to remind the world of why beers
worldwide have “Pils” in their names, of the
flavour of sauerkraut from Křimice, of the origin of Přeštice pork, and of where the pastry
called “Chodský koláč” is baked – not to mention where Škoda Transportation workers
manufacture trams.
Another aspect local entrepreneurs should
not fail to exploit is the import of what is
VILNIUS (BLO) – Lithuanians toasted the New Year in champagne
bought with euros as their country completed on 1 January its quartercentury transition from a communist economy to a member of the single
European currency. Lithuania’s new status places the entire Baltic region in the euro area after neighbouring Latvia’s accession a year ago
and Estonia’s in 2011. “Joining the eurozone is a very logical step in the
chain of very important steps for my country,” Finance Minister Rimantas
Sadzius said. “Euro adoption is perhaps the final step at this stage of
integrating Lithuania into the single market of western Europe.”
known as “cultural diplomacy”. A number
of congress and conference organisers have
already reported that Pilsen is their place
of choice of venue for their meetings in the
coming year. A city filled with culture also
attracts experts and businesspeople. A common cultural and emotional experience has
the power to cement a business relationship
better than anything else.
The European Capital of Culture project
has often been criticised as a megalomaniac
event funded from the public purse. And it
may indeed prove to be an expensive and
needless event if we fail to make the most
of the potential it offers. In 2015 and the following years, Pilsen will try hard to translate
the invested resources and energy into an
economic boom for the city and the region.
To see each invested crown returned many
times over.
More information can be found at
LONDON (SKY) – UK Premier David Cameron’s plans for cutting
immigration came under fire in December from the Czech Republic’s State Secretary for European Affairs, Tomáš Prouza. Angered by
Cameron’s suggestion that immigrants should only be allowed to claim
welfare benefits after they have been in the UK for four years, Prouza
tweeted a picture of Czech pilots who fought in the RAF during WW II.
“These Czechs ‘worked’ in the UK for less than four years. No benefits
for them?” Mr Prouza’s remarks were lauded by other Twitter users.
Poland’s Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz was also critical of the proposals.
OSLO (DN) – Budget airline Norwegian has submitted a formal complaint to the EU Commission and EFTA’s Surveillance Authority about
SAS Scandinavian Airlines receiving what it believes is “preferential
treatment.” Norwegian said that discriminatory conditions and licensing
practices prevent Norwegian from obtaining access to traffic rights on the
same terms as its competitor. Unlike its competitors, SAS can use aircraft
registered in Norway, Sweden and Denmark seamlessly without applying
for approval, notwithstanding the place of registry. Norwegian claims that
the Scandinavian aviation authorities “have established and continued
special treatment in favour of SAS that is not in accordance with EASA
rules and regulations.”
courtesy photo
courtesy photo
lologist Elias Lönnrot (1802 –1884)
compiled from Karelian and Finnish
oral folklore and mythology in the
first half of the 19th century. It played
an instrumental role in the development of Finnish national and lingual
identity, which ultimately led to the
country’s independence from Russia
in 1917.
The epos, consisting of 23,795 verses, begins with the traditional Finnish
ric verse) in 1894. This was the second
Slavonic translation of the Finnish
national epos, following a Russian
translation. A Serbian translation of
Kalevala was published in 1935 and a
Polish one in 1974.
Even though Holecˇek originally
had learned Finnish only to be able to
translate Kalevala, experts consider
that his interpretation of the epos, in
terms of precise meaning, imaginati-
of new research in the fields of philology, literary and cultural history, ethnography and anthropology.
“The idea was to present the text in
a way that will help the old text resonate
– to make it start talking,” Jan Čermák
explains. “We wanted to get closer to
the reader who does not know too much
about Finland but is eager to learn about
this book and Finnish culture.”
The Kalevala – usually translated
as “the land of Kaleva” – is a work of
epic poetry that the physician and phi-
creation myth, leading into stories of
the creation of the earth, plants, creatures and the sky. Creation, healing,
fighting and internal story telling are
often accomplished by the character
involved singing of their exploits or
desires. As well as magic spell casting
and singing, there are many stories of
lust, romance, kidnapping and seduction.
The writer and journalist Josef Holecˇek (1853-1929) finished the first
Czech translation of Kalevala (in met-
on and formal rendition, has yet to be
bettered. The genius Holecˇek later
also translated other works of Finnish
folk poetry into Czech.
Academica’s new 1,000-page edition of Kalevala is for the first time
accompanied by the original illustrations by the prominent Finnish painter
and famous Kalevala illustrator Akseli
Gallen-Kallela. The richly illustrated and commented Czech translation costs around CZK 1,200.
PRAGUE (STA) – Tieto’s software development centre in Ostrava, northern Moravia, has won a contract with Skåne in southern Sweden. Under the two-year contract, the Finnish IT services
company has, from September last year, been responsible for
around 1,200 servers and IT applications used by the police, hospitals and other public institutions in Sweden’s largest province.
The contract is worth CZK 250 million. So far, Tieto’s Swedish
branch office has been responsible for the service cooperation
with Skåne. “In this project we can use our long-term experiences
and offer client solutions that fit exactly with their demands,” says
Petr Lukasík, head of Tieto Czech. Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, Tieto is the largest Nordic IT services company.
courtesy photo
courtesy photo
A Czech translation of the Finnish national epic Kalevala, one of the key works
of world literature, has been published
by Academica in Prague. The new edition is the fifth release of Josef Holecˇek’s
original Czech translation, but it is for
the first time accompanied by a commentary by the Czech linguist and translator
Jan Čermák.
In this latest edition, Holecˇek’s brilliant translation has been revised in light
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