Radek Strouhal named new CEO of TATRA TRUCKS
29 January, 2017
On 1st February 2017 former CFO Radek Strouhal will become CEO of TATRA TRUCKS after more than three successful years at the head of the truck maker’s financial department.
“Radek has been part of Tatra’s management team since the current owners came on board. He played a key role in rescuing the company in terms of the financial management and negotiations with banks and other financial partners; he continues to manage both of these roles supremely well,” says Petr Rusek, the chairman of TATRA TRUCKS and board member of CZECHOSLOVAK GROUP, on his appointment.
After a leap in production in 2016, Tatra is entering a period where the focus will be placed on optimizing costs, increasing labour productivity and associated investment in key corporate infrastructure. “Radek Strouhal is therefore taking up the position of CEO after he had largely resolved these priorities in his previous position,” explains Petr Rusek.
Having fulfilled his key task to increase production year-to-year from 900 to 1,300 vehicles, Martin Bednarz is leaving the position of CEO of TATRA TRUCKS. Under his leadership, the truck maker produced a total of 1,326 vehicles in 2016. Petr Rusek says: “We thank Martin Bednarz for his work in our company, especially for setting up production for the subsequent stabilization phase and we wish him much success in his future work.”
In terms of human resources, Radek Strouhal’s appointment is an expression of managerial continuity. He has been working for the truck maker continuously since the arrival of the new owners, Czech entrepreneurs Jaroslav Strnad and René Matera, in whose PROMET GROUP holding company he worked as Chief Financial Officer before joining Tatra. He has been a TATRA TRUCKS board member since October 2013.
Radek Strouhal’s successful business economics management is evidenced by a huge shift of TATRA TRUCKS in its financial rating. From the position of a partner with very high financial risk at the time of the takeover by the new owners in the spring of 2013, the company has managed to move into the best green zone with a low risk of credit default already by mid-2014. According to the international Coface agency, the credit rating of TATRA TRUCKS in 2015 was a seven out of a possible ten.
Radek Strouhal adds: “Standing at the head of the third oldest automaker in the world is a great honour and responsibility for me. Tatra will undertake another increase in production, but hand-in-hand with increased productivity. Tatra’s growth will be supported by hundreds of millions in investment, including the project of restructuring the middle tract that will transform Tatra into a modern industrial building in terms of internal facilities and outer appearance. I will put great emphasis on human resources and positive employee motivation not only in manufacturing but also in Sales and other departments. The company was rescued through the teamwork of all “Tatrovaks”, now the long-term development begins.”
The Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 30 January awarded a CZK2.07 billion (USD82.0 million) contract to Tatra Defence Vehicle for the procurement of 20 specialised versions of the Steyr Pandur II 8×8 armoured vehicle for the Army of the Czech Republic (ACR).
Tatra Defence Vehicle obtained exclusive assembly and marketing rights for the Pandur from Steyr parent company General Dynamics European Land Systems in 2015.
Tatra Defence Vehicle will deliver six Pandur vehicles configured as command-and-control platforms and another 14 vehicles configured as communications platforms to the ACR, which already operates a fleet of 107 Pandur vehicles in various configurations.
The Czech government approved the procurement of the 20 specialised vehicle platforms in 2015; however, MoD procurement schedules for other defence systems did not provide room for the Pandurs in the budget until 2017.
The 20 platforms are expected to cost an additional CZK800 million from the original price of CZK1.27 billion since the ACR updated its requirements with additional ballistic protection and other more modern onboard technical and IT systems.
“The [increased procurement] price was reviewed by two independent court-appointed experts who ruled that the current price reflects the technological upgrades incorporated into the new vehicles,” deputy defence minister Daniel Kostoval told the media on 30 January.
Former Tatra Koprivnice works hall destroyed by fire
Tatra Trucks wants to raise its production from 1,326 to 1,700 units
Czech manufacturer TATRA TRUCKS produced 1,326 trucks in 2016. Its production thus increased by over 50% y/y. Tatra’s EBITDA will likely be close to CZK 500m for the year 2016. The production and sales target for the year 2017 is 1,700 units. The truckmaker thinks it is possible to deliver to the global market about 2,000 trucks a year in the segment of special utility vehicles and chasses. According to chairman of the board of directors Petr Rusek, the growth in the year 2017 will be more challenging compared with last two years.
By Jason Hovet | PRAGUE
Truckmaker Tatra, along with other Czech companies, has decided the time is right to protect its export revenues from the prospect of a stronger crown from next year.
Tatra’s hedging has been prompted by a shift in forward prices as investors bet the crown EURCZK= will gain when the Czech National Bank (CNB) frees it from a currency peg imposed during 2013 to fight deflation.
The central bank is guiding the market towards a mid-2017 exit, as Czech growth nears 3 percent and inflation is forecast to return to a 2 percent target next year.
The cap has provided companies with a free exchange rate hedge and, according to the Exporters Association, earned them 580 billion crowns ($22.81 billion) in extra revenue.
But analysts and companies expect the removal of the peg, which knocked the crown by as much as 7 percent when it was set, will cause the currency to jump, hitting firms in an economy where exports are equal to 85 percent of gross domestic product.
“We are looking to hedge mainly in 2018 and 2019. I started with 2018 and now I would like to catch some forwards for 2019,” Tatra’s Chief Financial Officer Radek Strouhal said.
Hedging is just one way exporters are readying for the new era. Many are looking for procurement contracts in euros, leaving them to worry only about paying wages in crowns. Others are taking loans in euros to benefit from a rise in the crown.
Tatra has done both, Strouhal said, and started hedging due to the shift in forward prices, initially covering about 300,000 euros per month in contracts, a fifth of what it needs.
The 1-year implied crown rate was at 26.72 per euro on Monday, up from 26.93 in August and a spot rate of 27.04. It firmed to as much as 26.54 in October. EURCZK1YV= EURCZK1Y=
WAKE UP CALL
Foreign exchange trading desks say hedging activity has risen since October, with the drop in the rate companies can hedge at a “wake-up call” for some.
Six of seven dealing desks contacted by Reuters said hedging interest was rising, although no data is available. Activity should also grow more in the first quarter as the central bank has pledged not to remove the cap before then.
Most firms stopped hedging when the crown firmed to 27 against the euro at the end of 2015. Exports hedged for a year fell to 25 percent in the second and third quarters, a CNB survey showed, from close to 40 percent previously.
The trend is turning, leaving scope for a significant pick-up as exporters’ annual revenue is about 120 billion euros.
That could add to rising speculative crown flow that has led the central bank to buy billions of euros a month from spot markets. Foreign reserves have grown to $85.9 billion, or 45 percent of GDP, from 21 percent in 2012, and are bigger than Canada’s reserves of $83.1 billion.
Most analysts expect the regime will be over by the end of 2017, even with the risk an extension of the European Central Bank’s bond-buying delaying the exit.
There is uncertainty, though, over how much and how quickly the crown will gain. A Reuters FX poll on Dec. 1 saw the crown at 26.27 versus the euro in one year.
The Exporters Association sees the crown returning to pre-intervention levels, of 25.50-25.80 per euro.
If investors pile into the crown now, the initial jump may not be big. But analysts see the currency as undervalued by about 5-10 percent given economic growth and trade surpluses.
To be ready, a fifth of companies now use supplier or customer contracts in euros, up from 14 percent three years ago, a CNB and Industry Confederation survey showed.
Karel Havlicek, head of Sindat group and chairman of the small- and medium-sized business association AMSP, said firms must prepare at least six months before the cap exit.
Sindat, a group of bio- and nanotechnology firms with sales of 20 million euros, naturally hedges four-fifths of revenue through its contracts. On markets, it is hedging about 2.5 million euros to be ready for a cap exit it expects in mid-2017.
“Natural hedging is the best solution,” Havlicek said.
A quarter of company loans are now in euros, versus 20 percent a year ago, CNB data shows, with DEK, an importer and building materials distributor, one example of a firm financing investments in the European currency.
“It is a good long-run bet,” finance director, Jan Bolek, said.
For a graphic showing interventions in Czech crown, click here
(Editing by Alexander Smith)
Czech brand: Success has Kofola, Tatra and Favorit
According to a study Czech brand in 2016,which implements the association Czech Top 100 in cooperation with the research agency GfK, he took the last 12 months Czech Kofola brand most consumers. It is in their memory enrolled especially its positive marketing communications. Behind her were placed Skoda Air Bank, Czech Savings Bank and T-Mobile. The top ten also appeared FIO Bank, CEZ, Moneta Money Bank, Klasa and Alza. Results are based on a representative survey on a sample of 1,000 respondents of the online population older than 15 years.
|Czech brand that most impressed in last 12 months|
|4th||Czech savings Bank|
Most traditional Czech brand Tatra by the respondents. Other places occupied Čedok brand, Hame, KMV and Favorit.
|Traditional Czech brand|
|4th||Carlsbad Mineral Water|
Favorit is also brand, which people are most proud of. Second place in this category was awarded Čedok. The third ranked company Dermatol. The top five also figure Tatra and mineral water.
|Brand, which the Czechs are most proud|
|5th||Carlsbad Mineral Water|
“Project Czech brand for the first time maps Czech brand at the time, češství’, origin and return to the roots growing in importance. And thanks to these aspects, Czechs are increasingly aware of their wealth and are proud for him. Some traditional companies that for some time even disappeared from the viewfinder Czechs enter again in full glory on the market with known, trusted and quality products that we often accompanies since our childhood, “says Lenka Harmon, Sector Leader Consumer Goods GfK .