Lázár: Government backs Pécs council in Zsolnay issue

History

The Hungarian government “backs the efforts by the municipal council of Pécs”, which is the minority owner of porcelain maker Zsolnay Porcelánmanufaktúra, Cabinet Chief János Lázár said yesterday, according to reports. Zsolnayʼs majority owner recently aired concerns of a hostile takeover by the companyʼs minority owner.  

Cabinet Chief János Lázár speaks at his regular press conference yesterday. (Photo: MTI/Zoltán Máthé)

The Hungarian government has taken the side of the local council of Pécs in the “Zsolnay matter”, Lázár said according to reports. He added that the “apparent owner” of Zsolnay cannot count on further support from state-owned Hungarian Development Bank (MFB) or the government, Hungarian news agency MTI reported. 

He added that the government would like to create business opportunities for Zsolnay through the stateʼs renovation of a number of landmark buildings in the capital, such as the Museum of Applied Arts, MTI reported.

The staff of Zsolnay resigned from their jobs on Tuesday en masse, effective immediately, abandoning the company for the newly formed Ledina Kerámia, which was set up by the minority owner, the municipal council of Pécs. The company was set up after the MFB canceled the HUF 413 million loan provided to porcelain manufacturer Zsolnay Porcelánmanufaktúra, and said on May 31 that liquidation of the company could begin shortly if the company fails to comply with the repayment of the loan. Zsolnayʼs majority owner reportedly said it planned to sue the MFB for its decision to cancel the loan.

Bachar Najari, a Syrian-born businessman who acquired a 74.5% majority stake in the company from now minority owner Pécs local council in 2013, in a statement earlier aired concerns about what he believes could be an “intended hostile takeover” supported by “representatives of the minority owner”

Following this statement, the majority owner announced at a general meeting that he had initiated the squeeze-out of the companyʼs minority owner.

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