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Zsolnay majority owner places HUF 400 mln n escrow

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Pixabay/Anna Armbrust

Bachar Najari, the majority owner of porcelain maker Zsolnay, has placed HUF 400 million the company owes the state-owned Hungarian Development in escrow, and is waiting for the court to decide where it should be transferred, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

 The Syrian businessman gave a press conference today with his wife Petra Cséplő, who also chairs Zsolnay’s board, and they said they dispute West Hungaria Bauʼs purchase of the asset from MFB. 

Cséplő noted that they had offered to buy the loan earlier for HUF 260 mln, which they learnt was well over the price it was sold to West Hungaria Bau, MTI added. She added Najari had also paid “from his own pocket”, some HUF 91 mln Zsolnay owed in local business tax to the city of Pécs, the minority owner of Zsolnay, by the deadline on June 27, but the payment was not booked as the bailiff did not clear the transfer.

On July 12, a court rejected the registration of Ledina Kerámia, a company established by porcelain manufacturer Zsolnay’s minority owner, the local council of Pécs, so that it could take over operation of the company from a private investor.

The registration was rejected after the request of Zsolnay, which argued that two of its supervisory board members are tied to the company under establishment, which is a conflict of interest. The two members reportedly resigned but Zsolnay refused to let them go. 

The Pécs city council placed a lien on Zsolnay’s bank account at the end of June, at the same time that the registration of Ledina Kerámia, was temporarily suspended by Zsolnay’s request. Around 130 employees departed from Zsolnay en masse for work at Ledina Kerámia in early June, amidst concerns over the firm’s potential liquidation.  

Bachar Najari, said at a June 14 press conference that the company has “come under attack by a group lobbying to take over business” in EU-supported building renovations.

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