Stadler considers further investments in Hungary pending market conditions

Automotive

The Stadler group’s production capacities are tied down by existing orders, therefore, if the market for railway vehicle manufacturing improves in the next two years, further capacity expansion could be necessary, in which Hungary could be playing a part, the Swiss group’s CEO/owner Peter Spuhler told MTI.

The group’s operations this year have been hit by the strength of the Swiss currency, and it has been considering building production capacity outside Switzerland and look for new supply sources.

Mr Peter Spuhler said plans to expand the Szolnok unit are at an advanced stage; a letter of intent was earlier signed with the mayor. Stadler is also supporting the building of a cluster in Szolnok (C Hungary), the members of which would participate as suppliers in the assembly of Stadler trains. Furthermore, the region is also being considered as the possible location for reconstruction of components of vehicles made by the Stadler group.

"If market conditions are favourable, Stadler could invest in Hungary as much as has been invested already, that is €20-25m, which could create a further 200-250 new jobs," Mr Spuhler emphasised.

Peter Spuhler expressed hope that vehicle procurement tenders, in which Stadler could participate, would be called soon, such as, in addition to the already published GYSEV vehicle procurement, a Budapest tramway procurement tender and tenders for vehicle purchases for Budapest’s first underground line, the cogwheel railway, and its suburban HEV railway.

Stadler has been present on the Hungarian market since 2005 through three subsidiaries, and currently employs 300 workers in the country.

It won contracts in 2006 to supply and maintain 30+30 Flirt railway vehicle units for MAV.

The Stadler group has so far invested more than HUF 9bn in Hungary. The Pusztaszabolcs (C Hungary) railway vehicle maintenance unit started operating in 2007 after investment of HUF 2.7bn. An aluminium railway vehicle case welding unit was established in Szolnok in 2009 after investment of HUF 6.7bn.

Mr Spuhler said preliminary figures show the Swiss-based group’s annual revenue will exceed CHF 1.4bn this year, which could grow to CHF 2.5bn next year based on existing orders.

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