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Ikarus spearheads Hungarian business in Iran

Bus maker Ikarus has signed an agreement with Iran for the export of 1,000 buses, one third of its full-year production capacity, although it must adapt to local technical requirements. Ikarus Chairman Gábor Széles was among a 20-strong business delegation accompanying Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga on an official visit to Iran at the weekend.

Following the visit, Varga told national news agency MTI that several bilateral agreements have been signed, including a deal between Hungarian bus maker Ikarus and Iranian partners on the production and delivery of about 1,000 vehicles to Iran.

Magyar Eximbank has opened a USD 162 million credit line to support such partnerships, Varga added.

Ikarus Chairman Gábor Széles was one of the members of the delegation and offered more details in an interview with daily newspaper Magyar Hírlap, where he revealed Ikarus plans to produce 3,000 buses per year, of which 2,000 will be for export.

Iran is the third pillar in Ikarusʼs export strategy, Széles noted. The company has already started talks with potential partners in Russia, where its most likely partner will be Kamaz. Ikarus also established a joint venture this summer with Chinaʼs Yinlong, he added.

Iranian technical requirements are different from those in Hungary, which is a challenge for restructuring production capacity at Ikarus, Széles conceded. However, he vowed that the company would be able to adapt to these requirements.

Cooperation expanding

Also during Vargaʼs visit to Iran, an agreement on cooperation in the healthcare sector which makes inroads into local markets for Hungarian companies in the pharmaceutical, medical equipment, cosmetics, biotechnology and medicinal herbs businesses was signed during the two-day visit, the ministry told MTI.

In addition, a memorandum of understanding was concluded extending to institutions of higher education and research centers, Varga said.

Varga also met with his Iranian counterpart Masoud Karbasian, who said interbank, financial and touristic relations between the two countries should be promoted, the minister told MTI on the phone from Tehran on Monday.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said he would like to see strengthened cooperation between Iranian and Hungarian oil companies, Varga said, noting that Hungarian oil and gas company MOL has long been present in neighboring Pakistan and Hungary bought crude oil from Iran last year.

Bilateral trade between Hungary and Iran reached about USD 80 million last year, MTI noted.