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Company News

Appeninn acquires Milton Hitelezési

Property holding company Appeninn has acquired financing business Milton Hitelezési, which will continue to operate under the name of AppeninnCredit Hitelezési, Appeninn announced on October 21 on the Budapest Stock Exchange website, Hungarian news agency MTI reported. Appeninn said the acquisition fits into its corporate strategy, as it will now have the option to purchase assets backed by real property or provide property leasing services through its subsidiary. Appeninn is financing the purchase with treasury shares, paying 654,545 to Wallis Group, the previous owner of Milton Hitelezési, for a total value of HUF 144 million. The National Bank of Hungary has approved the acquisition.

ThyssenKrupp makes Budapest R&D base a global center

Germany’s ThyssenKrupp has accredited its research and development base in Budapest as a global center, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told Hungarian news agency MTI on October 20, after meeting with management at the company’s German headquarters in Essen. In addition to its R&D base, ThyssenKrupp makes axles for Audi at a plant in Győr and it is building a HUF 30 billion steering components factory in Jászfényszaru, which is expected to start operating in 2018. Szijjártó also met with the management of Deutsche Telekom in Düsseldorf. The telco’s Hungarian subsidiary Magyar Telekom is setting up service centers in a number of smaller Hungarian cities that will employ 360 people.

Bookline joins Simple app for buying books

Hungarian book retailer Bookline is launching a mobile interface in cooperation with mobile application Simple that enables bibliophiles to purchase books from the retailer’s online store using mobile phones. Simple, an application that specializes in purchasing goods through mobile phones, is adding Bookline as a separate function to its services. Secure payment is provided for the application by OTP Mobil. Although mobiles are being used more frequently for surfing the internet than desktops nowadays, Bookline says that, up to now, payments have rarely been made via handsets due to the hassle involved. Additionally, people seem to have been reluctant to enter their bank card data into mobile devices in a public space. The new system should get around both problems, Bookline says.

Media Markt eyes two Tesco openings in Hungary

Electronic product retailer Media Markt is planning to open two stores inside separate branches of supermarket chain Tesco in the west of Hungary, the companies jointly announced on October 20. Tesco in Veszprém will welcome an 800 sqm Media Markt unit, while the supermarket in Győr will host a 600 sqm store, according to reports. The Hungarian subsidiary of the U.K.-based FMCG retailer has recently spent approximately HUF 440 million on renovating the two units. Tesco added that the Győr store will also add a 75-seater fast-food restaurant.

Oracle Hungary receives Cloud Innovator award

Oracle Hungary has been given the “Cloud Innovator” award during the tenth E-Banking Summit & Expo in Hungary. For the first time this year, awards acknowledging IT solutions in the field were distributed at the event. “We are exceptionally happy about being the recipient of the award, which shows that the bank sector has opened for digital technologies, which can transform their current business models and offer new opportunities,” said Csaba Reményi, CEO of Oracle Hungary, on receiving the award. He stressed that cloud services have become a significant part of the digitization of companies. Businesses primarily opt for cloud services for cost-efficiency reasons, the CEO said, however he believes this is not the only perk of the technology. “Well-applied cloud-based solutions enable businesses to answer the challenges of digitization faster and in a more flexible manner, while they can also test business models that have profitability that is hard to predict,” the CEO said.

Seeing success, Taxify plans expansion in Hungary

Following almost two months of operations in Budapest, Estonia-based transportation company Taxify has requested that the Hungarian National Transport Authority greenlight the company’s plans to double the number of cars it operates in the capital, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal. Taxify says it has never entered a country’s market as fast as it did here. “Hundreds of people had downloaded our application even before our service was launched,” says Dániel Cziraki, operative leader of the firm in Hungary. “Our service has become so popular that our car park needed to be expanded in a haste, which means at this time we can serve our customers with approximately 100 cars,” Cziraki adds. Taxify’s reported success in Budapest is apparently due to the fact that U.S.-based ride-sharing company Uber pulled out of the country a few weeks before the arrival of Taxify, citing strict new regulations the Hungarian government adopted after local taxi drivers demonstrated numerous times against what they had claimed was unfair competition. Taxify acknowledges this, saying ex-Uber customers probably form the core of its current customer base. Although Taxify’s prices are close to Hungarian taxi fares, the application believes that extra services, such as its innovative application and the rating system of cars and their drivers, offer advantages over traditional taxis. Another advantage, Cziraki notes, is that travelers can trace back their previous rides in the application on a map, and therefore can double-check whether the drivers chose the best directions. In the first full month the firm operated here, there were more than 10,000 registered journeys, with two-thirds of travelers paying for their ride through the Taxify application. One of the major aims of Taxify is to put an end to bad taxi practices, such as overcharging customers, and taking travelers on longer and slower routes, Cziraki stresses in the statement.

NI Hungary expands plant at cost of HUF 5.5 bln

U.S.-based measurement and automation firm National Instruments is expanding production capacity at its Hungarian plant in Debrecen through an investment of HUF 5.5 billion, COO Alex Davern announced on October 18. As part of that investment, the company is also planning to boost R&D infrastructure at its Hungarian base. The investment is expected to create 210 new jobs, Davern added. The COO noted that earlier this year NI installed cutting-edge technology in Debrecen through an investment of HUF 30 bln. Additionally, NI Hungary Managing Director László Ábrahám said the company will donate robot-building kits to all schools in the city. He added that more than 400 Hungarian schools have already joined the company’s mentoring program, which has introduced approximately 4,000 students to robot programming.

Budapest-based coffee startup Bariksa hits Indiegogo

Budapest-based coffee startup Bariksa is raising money for its project on Indiegogo, having set a goal of collecting USD 40,000 to kickstart its business. The app-based coffee tricycle service could start as early as next February, Bariksa told the Budapest Business Journal. Having started planning in 2012, Bariksa aims to offer an eco-friendly and solar-powered solution, enabling customers to order their coffee via a mobile phone application and pick it up from one of the Bariksa tricycles preparing and selling the coffee. The USD 40,000 target would cover the realization of the first four Bariksa eco-tricycles, licensing costs, 100% arabica coffee, the development of the app, some advertising and the first Bariksers, the founders expect. “Sustainability, inter-generational responsibility, eco-friendly activities and minimization of our impact on the environment are fundamental principles to us and... guide our vision, our actions, our hearts,” the Indiegogo description says. Once the money is raised, the startup expects it will need two months to get the four prototype Bariksas ready. “The campaign is scheduled to end on November 30 this year, which means weʼll ideally be ready to operate from February next year,” Paola Kaniki de Beno, who is in charge of the startup’s external communications, told the BBJ. No such service is provided in Budapest today, Kaniki de Beno stressed, adding that “the closest version could be BITEʼs coffee food truck, but that is a standard, traditional food truck, as it does not move and does not integrate any smart technology.” At first the startup is planning to cover the busiest central areas in Budapest. “Weʼre looking forward to having each central and busy area covered, both on the Pest and Buda sides,” Kaniki de Beno added. She described the expansion possibilities as limitless: “More Bariksas can be added to Budapest and outside the capital too, as well as abroad; we would be able to replicate the business model anywhere in Europe, to start with.”

Ledina Kerámia ready for production, eyes Zsolnay trademark

Photo: MTI/Tamás Sóki

Ledina Kerámia, a company originally established by Pécs municipal council to take over operations from porcelain maker Zsolnay when the latter was threatened with liquidation, is expecting to launch production by as early as February 2017, managing director Viktor Erdei said on October 20, according to Hungarian news agency MTI. Ledina Kerámia launched test runs in October at its plant, which had been built through a HUF 2 billion investment, Erdei said. With its consortium partners, Ledina is planning to participate in an EU-funded HUF 2 bln development program, Erdei added. Anidel Projekt Kft., which owns Ledina, announced that it would spend HUF 8 bln on establishing a plant in Pécs, MTI added. Earlier it was reported that Ledina had filed to acquire the Zsolnay trademark, as “another attack” on Zsolnay, János Bozóki, the “indirect owner” of Ledina said. Viktor Erdei, the CEO of Ledina Kerámia Kft., and István Takács, the owner of Anidel Projekt Kft., the owner of Ledina, announce the expected launch of production at its Pécs base. Photo: MTI/Tamás Sóki