Hungarian bus manufacturer Ikarus Egyedi Kft. has filed for bankruptcy protection in order to manage the companyʼs payment difficulties, the management told state news wire MTI on Monday. During the bankruptcy procedure, the companyʼs operations will be reorganized and its solvency restored, they added.
The management has asked the government to declare the company a strategically important enterprise and take part in the reorganization process, the statement said.
Public records show Ikarus Egyedi is owned by evopro Bus, Lanta-Consulting and Albaric Kft. It employs almost 200 workers. The company had revenues of HUF 5.65 billion in 2016.
Ikarus Egyedi, which previously operated under the name Mabi-Bus, has been in difficulties for some time, notes news portal index.hu, but had hoped to benefit from the governmentʼs touted plans to boost local bus manufacturing. The firmʼs owner and managing director, Csaba Mészáros, was one of two leaders who stood alongside then Minister for National Economy (now Minister of Finance) Mihály Varga when he announced the governmentʼs bus manufacturing strategy last year.
In February 2017, index.hu recalls, Ikarus Egyedi won a significant order for 180 buses from Volánbusz, of which city transport company BKV would have taken delivery of around 30. The firm was granted credit for the project by MKB Bank and hired workers to fill the order, but to date has managed to turn out only a handful of vehicles and has already run over its production deadline. The contract remains valid, but the report notes that Volánbusz is likely to cancel it now that the bus maker has declared bankruptcy.
Business news site vg.hu reports that since June 22, Ikarus Egyedi is no longer led by Mészáros, but by two liquidators. It adds that the company owes HUF 3.86 billion to MKB Bank, and that after two deadline extensions the final deadline expired on June 18.
Index.hu emphasizes that Ikarus Egyedi is not a successor company to the iconic Ikarus bus maker, which closed down in 2003, and that there is an ongoing legal dispute over ownership of the Ikarus brand with Műszertechnika Holding, a company of one-time Ikarus chairman and owner Gábor Széles.