Ledina Kerámia ready for production, eyes Zsolnay trademark

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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 yesterday, according to Hungarian news agency MTI. Earlier this week it was reported that Ledina had filed to acquire the Zsolnay trademark.

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, which owns Ledina, announced that it would spend HUF 8 bln on establishing a plant in Pécs, MTI added. 

János Bozóki, the “indirect owner” of Ledina, initiated the registry of the Zsolnay trademark as its own on September 1, as “another attack” on Zsolnay, Bozóki said. The indirect owner was reported as saying that he feels responsibility to keep the Zsolnay culture alive, something he believes the company currently bearing the name is incapable of.

In the middle of August Ledina was reported to have been put up for sale after Zsolnay was spared liquidation by a Hungarian court.

The municipal council of Pécs is the minority owner of Zsolnay, and was planning to take over operations when it looked like the company would be liquidated as a result of a debt majority owner Bachar Najari owed, initially to MKB Bank, and then to a construction company that had purchased the debt.

After the debt was repaid, a court last week declared the liquidation procedure against Zsolnay terminated. Zsolnay’s legal counsel said that although the decision could be appealed, it was difficult to refute.

Around 130 employees departed Zsolnay en masse to work at Ledina Kerámia in early June, amidst concerns over Zsolnay’s future. Government-friendly daily Magyar Idők reported at the end of June that staff had left the company due to “psychological pressure and ruined morale”.

Syrian businessman Najari said at a June 14 press conference that the historic porcelain manufacturer had “come under attack by a group lobbying to take over business” in EU-supported building renovations.

Najari said mid-summer the courtʼs decision to terminate the liquidation procedure “puts an end to the organized theft of the factory with the involvement of politicians and businessmen”.

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