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Mészárosʼs IT firm wins big tobacco tracking contract

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Listed IT firm 4iG revealed Monday it has won a HUF 4 billion contract in a consortium with Suaviter Zrt., via a tender called by ND Nemzeti Dohánykereskedelmi Nonprofit Zrt., coordinator of the state monopoly on retail tobacco sales, to establish a system of unique identifiers (UIDs) for tobacco products.

A European Union directive requires member states to gradually introduce systems providing for tobacco traceability and security from May 20, 2019. The open public procurement tender was called for provision of IT services for the Tobacco Product Identification and Issuing IT System (DAKIR), suitable for real-time tracking aimed at combating the illegal tobacco trade, and covering the operation and maintenance of the system for a period of five years, according to current affairs website hvg.hu.

Tracking of cigarettes and loose tobacco entails the attachment of an electronic unique identifier (UID) to every individual cigarette packet, loose tobacco pouch and larger carton from the end of May, allowing each productʼs journey to be tracked in the DAKIR system in real time, from manufacturer to warehouse to retail outlet.

In addition, it is also the task of the system to identify all economic actors – manufacturers, importers, wholesale and retail traders - as well as all facilities where tobacco products are manufactured, stored or sold, as well as registering and monitoring all machinery used in the processing of tobacco.

Manufacturers and importers are expected to pay ND Zrt. a fee of 2-5 forints per packaging unit for the UIDs, noted the hvg.hu report. The money thus collected will be used to finance the full operation and maintenance of the DAKIR system.

Some 31 million packets of cigarettes and cigars, as well as approximately the equivalent quantity of various loose tobacco products, are sold in Hungary monthly, according to ND Zrt. data cited by business news portal portfolio.hu.

The share price of 4iG, which is listed in the Equities Standard section of the Budapest Stock Exchange (BÉT), has risen some 158% this year, portfolio.hu noted. The Konzum-Opus group of companies holds the majority of 4iG shares, controlled by the oligarch Lőrinc Mészáros, a close ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán who has risen from obscurity to become Hungaryʼs richest man under the present government, with diverse interests in tourism, media, agriculture, construction, real estate and other sectors.

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