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ICSID obliges Hungary to pay damages to French voucher company

The World Bankʼs International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has ordered the Hungarian state to pay French meal voucher company Edenred compensation of about EUR 23 million, Hungarian news website 444.hu reported, citing a statement by the French firm on Nasdaq GlobeNewswire.  

Edenred, which owns the Ticket Restaurant brand, was one of three French voucher companies that separately sought compensation from Hungary at ICSID in 2013 after the restructuring of the countryʼs voucher system. 

The Orbán government introduced a unified national voucher system in 2012, creating the Erzsébet Vouchers and Szép Cards and in effect squeezing out existing market players, noted the 444.hu report.   

In 2012, the government modified tax rules to specify that 51% tax must be paid on all non-wage benefits, except for the then newly introduced state Szép and Erzsébet schemes, which enjoy a beneficial tax rate of 31%, recalled 444.hu.

The other two companies whose cases have not yet been concluded are Le Chèque Déjeuner and Sodexo Pass.