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Zsolnay majority owner initiates squeeze out of local council

History

After airing concerns about what it believes could be an “intended hostile takeover” supported by “representatives of the minority owner”, the majority owner of Hungarian porcelain maker Zsolnay Porcelánmanufaktúra announced at a general meeting on Friday it had initiated the squeeze-out of the companyʼs minority owner, the local council of Pécs, according to reports. 

The historical factory makes an artisan style of ceramics that are sought after by collectors. Zsolnay Chairman Petra Cséplő reportedly said the majority owner had not experienced "any form of cooperation" with the local council since it took over management of the company three and a half years ago, while the local council has run a campaign to discredit the owner and filed a number of suits, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

Commenting on a probe tax authorities launched of the company on Tuesday, the chairman said the management of Zsolnay is giving their full cooperation, and wants to see the investigation wound up as soon as possible as she has no knowledge of any criminal activity taking place at the company. Counsel for city government István Szabó called the general meeting “scandalous”, adding that majority owner Bachar Najari was prohibited from voting on a squeeze-out under the terms of a syndicated contract.

Najari, a Syrian-born businessman who acquired a 74.5% majority stake in the company from now minority owner Pécs local council in 2013, said in the statement earlier that the move by the Hungarian government this February to declare the company of “strategic importance” was made in order to facilitate the takeover, MTI reported. Such companies receive special treatment in a bankruptcy procedure, however, the majority owner said the company pays its bills and local taxes on time.

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