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Construction company KÖZGÉP throws lifeline to porcelain maker Zsolnay

Hungarian construction company KÖZGÉP on Friday said it is buying a 100% stake in Manufaktúra-Befektető to throw a lifeline to troubled porcelain maker Zsolnay.

Last June, Manufaktúra-Befektető, which is owned by Gellért Jászai, chairman of property developer SCD Group, bought a 49% stake, plus two voting preference shares, in Zsolnay, one of Hungary's most famous porcelain makers, for a price of HUF 230 million and a promise to inject a further HUF 500 million into the company. Manufaktúra-Befektető said earlier it had started paying the purchase price and a promised capital raise, but banks would not be able to transfer the amounts by the deadline at the end of March because the amount was "bigger than necessary". The local council of Pécs (SW Hungary), Zsolnay's owner, extended the March deadline to May 24.

KÖZGÉP said on Friday it wants to establish a stable foundation for Zsolnay's operation. It sees the acquisition not only as a financial investment, but wants to participate in implementing the company's strategy at a professional level too.