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Wizz Air announces opening 28th base at London Luton

Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air has announced it will be opening its 28th base at London Luton Airport on June 18, adding a new Airbus A320 aircraft. London Luton, from where Wizz Air has operated flights for more than 12 years, will be the airline’s first U.K. airport with base operations. The establishment of the base represents an investment in the airport and the local region by creating 36 direct jobs with the airline. “Today’s announcement once again underlines Wizz Air’s commitment to the U.K. Our first Wizz Air flight from the United Kingdom took off from London Luton in 2004, and since then we have carried more than 35 million passengers on our low-fare U.K. routes,” said József Váradi, CEO of Wizz Air.

Audi agrees to raise wages, union says

The management of Audi Hungaria, the German car manufacturer’s Hungarian subsidiary, has managed to reach agreement with the Audi Hungaria Independent Trade Union (AHFSZ) on wage increases for the year, according to reports. Under the agreement, the base salary at Audi Hungaria’s local plant in Győr will be raised by HUF 30,000, backdated to the start of this year, while an additional 3% of variable pay will be built into the base salary. As of next year, the base salary will be increased by a further HUF 30,000, topped up with another 3% of variable pay. Annual HUF 600,000 non-wage compensation from this year will grow to HUF 620,000 next year. About 1,500 of the 11,500 workers at the plant in Győr held a two-hour strike following failed wage negotiations on January 26. Péter Lőre, director of communications at Audi Hungaria, said that the strike had resulted in a drop in production, but would not affect deliveries to customers. The plant puts out 8,000 engines on a daily basis.

Competition Authority GVH blocks RTL’s Central Media acquisition

The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) has blocked the planned acquisition of Central Digital Media, the online portfolio of Central Médiacsoport, by Magyar RTL Televízió, the biggest commercial television broadcaster in Hungary, according to reports. The competition office blocked the acquisition, acting on an earlier opinion of the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) refusing the merger in January, arguing that it would intensify the concentration of ownership on the television and digital markets to a degree that would endanger citizens’ rights to diverse sources of information. Under Hungary’s media law, the GVH is compelled to request an authoritative standpoint from the Media Council, and is obliged to prohibit a merger if the latter refuses to grant its approval of the transaction. Magyar RTL submitted its application to acquire a 30% stake and management rights in Central Digital Media to the NMHH in October 2016, Hungarian wire service MTI noted. RTL Klub, the most prominent channel of the RTL Group, is the chief competitor of commercial television channel TV2, which was recently purchased by Hungarian-American film producer Andrew G. Vajna, the government commissioner for the Hungarian film industry. While RTL has carried news critical of the current government, having clashed with the regime over advertising taxes in the recent past that hit RTL Klub particularly hard and also attracted the attention of the European Commission, TV2 has recently carried pro-government news and a greater number of government announcements. Central Digital Media is present on the online content and advertising market, MTI noted. It operates six internet portals, which include general news portals as well as specialized sites for women, health and motorists, the wire service added.

Apollo to launch Hungarian tire production soon

With construction on schedule, Apollo Tyres’ manufacturing plant in Gyöngyöshalász expects to start production early this year, according to a statement sent to the Budapest Business Journal. Apollo Tyres says it now employs 400 highly qualified engineers, technicians and tire manufacturers in Hungary. The company added that, in relation to its recruitment process, it has faced no exceptional challenges. Earlier news reports suggested that the country’s now well-known labor shortage might make hiring difficult for the company. The first two batches of technicians have already finished their training, with the third round ongoing, the company said. The employees have all participated in a specialized, 10-week practical training scheme in Apollo’s Indian and Dutch facilities. The program is aimed at enabling the technicians to install and then start the production lines at the EUR 475 million factory at Gyöngyöshalász (about 80 km northeast of Budapest), which will be equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology. Once production at the Hungarian plant starts, the company expects to employ a staff of several hundred in its facility.

F. Segura to double Hungarian unit area, capacity

F. Segura Hungária, the local subsidiary of the Spain-based car parts manufacturer, has announced plans to expand its Hungarian unit through an investment of HUF 5.3 billion, supported with a HUF 680 million grant from the Hungarian government, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó announced on February 20, according to reports. After almost doubling the local plant’s area to 25,000 sqm, the company expects it will have created approximately 100 jobs, raising staff numbers to 285. Additionally, the company also expects to double its annual turnover in Hungary after scheduled completion in 2018. The Segura Group has invested a combined EUR 65 mln in Hungary in the past ten years, noted Francisco Segura Hervás, president of the group. The company manufactures automotive parts for brands such as Audi, Mercedes, BMW and Porsche. The Hungarian subsidiary had net profit of EUR 3.9 mln on revenue of EUR 28 mln in 2015, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

Telenor Hungary confirms layoff plans

Telenor Hungary is laying off 100-120 employees due to restructuring, the telecommunications firm confirmed to Hungarian wire service MTI on February 20, addressing local media reports. According to the Hungarian subsidiary of the multinational, cutting jobs is seen as a way of boosting efficiency while keeping the company competitive. Hungarian media reported that Telenor would be laying off one in ten of its somewhat more than 1,000 staff in Hungary, working in support positions, such as finance, marketing and IT. Telenor said that it supports voluntary redundancies, as well as offering higher compensation than set by related laws, according to Hungarian online daily index.hu. The telco reportedly informed staff about the redundancies on March 14 of last year.