Custodian appointed for Zsolnay liquidation proceeding

History

Hungarian state-owned liquidator Nemzeti Reorganizácios Nonprofit appointed a custodian to oversee the assets of Hungarian porcelain maker Zsolnay, as a partnership between a foreign businessman and the city of Pécs continues to unravel, according to a news report on Saturday.

The company makes a traditional artisan style of porcelain that is considered uniquely Hungarian. It is majority-owned by Syrian businessman Bachar Najari and minority-owned by the local council of Pécs, and in April, the firm was declared of “special strategic importance” by the Hungarian government, which means special bankruptcy procedures apply to Zsolnay. 

A company close to construction firm West Hungaria Bau initiated a liquidation procedure against Zsolnay after it acquired ownership of a HUF 413 million loan that the company had owed to the state-owned Hungarian Development Bank (MFB), Hungarian news agency MTI reported today.

The majority-owner said last week his company has “come under attack by a group lobbying to take over business”. In mid-April, he aired concerns of what he called a “hostile takeover”.

The staff of Zsolnay resigned from their jobs on June 7 en masse, effective immediately, abandoning the company for the newly formed Ledina Kerámia, which was set up by the municipal council of Pécs.

Cabinet Chief János Lázár said in the beginning of June that the Hungarian government “backs the efforts by the municipal council of Pécs”, which is the minority owner of porcelain maker Zsolnay Porcelánmanufaktúra. He added that the Hungarian government has taken the side of the local council of Pécs in the “Zsolnay matter”. He said that the “apparent owner” of Zsolnay cannot count on further support from state-owned MFB or the government.

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