Zsolnay owner believes company is ‘under attack’

Food

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Hungarian porcelain manufacturer Zsolnay has “come under attack by a group lobbying to take over business” in the market for European Union-supported building renovations, majority owner Bachar Najari, a Syrian businessman, said today at a press conference, according to reports.

This is the first time Najari spoke out since he aired concerns of what he suspected was a “hostile takeover”, by “representatives of minority owner” the council of Pécs a few months ago. 

Najari said today that after the mayor of Pécs announced that the company was on the verge of bankruptcy, a number of Zsolnay’s partners canceled business activities with the company, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

During the press conference, the Syrian businessman stressed that Zsolnay had liabilities dating back more than ten years and an annual loss of almost HUF 300 million when he acquired the company in 2013. He emphasized that in the first year under new ownership, Zsolnayʼs losses were halved, and the company nearly broke even in the second year, MTI reported.

Without naming the alleged “attackers”, Najari said that feedback from the local council, the minority owner, was positive until last year, when the firm came under attack, MTI added.

The feud over the company, which exports to a number of countries, started in mid-April, when Najari aired concerns of a “hostile takeover”

Liquidation against the company was launched yesterday, according to reports, by an unnamed Hungarian-owned construction company, who purchased a debt that Zsolnay had with the state-owned Hungarian Development Bank (MFB). 

After the MFB announced that it had canceled the HUF 413 million loan provided to Zsolnay, and the company could face liquidation, minority owner Pécs council established a company called Ledina Kerámia, to take over operations from Zsolnay, if the company fails to replay its loan. The staff of Zsolnay resigned from their jobs on June 7 en masse, abandoning the company for the newly formed Ledina Kerámia. 

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