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MFB Invest plans HUF 20-30 bln of investments in 2012

MFB Invest, the venture capital unit of the state-owned Hungarian Development Bank (MFB), plans investments of HUF 20 billion-30 billion this year, CEO Sándor Ormándi told MTI.

Ormándi said the investments would be aimed at stimulating economic growth and creating jobs. 

MFB Invest aims to invest HUF 5 billion in smaller projects, worth HUF 300 million-400 million per company. It targets projects in the energy sector, such as production of solar panels, as well as in the healthcare, construction and machinery sectors. Ormándi said six such projects are currently under evaluation.

He said that MFB Invest had net assets of almost HUF 19 billion at the end of 2011, but it could also rely on resources from its parent. The unit's total assets fell by HUF 25 billion to HUF 20 billion in 2011 because of the sale of its stake in Hungarian oil and gas company MOL.

So far this year, MFB Invest has raised capital by HUF 2 billion in Magyar Gáz Tranzit, taking a 50% stake in the company which is building a HUF 40 billion interconnector between the gas networks of Hungary and Slovakia.

MFB Invest also acquired a 45% stake in a consortium of state-owned companies that recently won the biggest block in a mobile telecommunications frequency tender. 

Ormándi said the company expected the same return on the mobile telecommunications investment as private investors, that is 18-20%. MFB Invest is investing HUF 25 billion-30 billion this year in gas and mobile telecommunications projects, he added.

MFB Invest is establishing an energy services company (ESCO) to support energy-saving investments at state-owned buildings, he said.

Last year, MFB Invest made three investments totaling HUF 4.9 billion. Among them was the purchase of a 60% stake in SBI Europe Fund from Japan's SBI Capital Partners.

Ormándi said the €100 million fund was inefficient, having made just a single investment, of about 10% of its capital, after reviewing more than 300 potential projects. He added that the fund planned investments not only in Hungary, but in neighboring countries too in the future.

MFB Invest wants to draw foreign capital into the fund again too, he said.

MFB Group successfully withdrew last year from an earlier investment in Solvo Biotechnológiai, taking with it the agreed upon yield, Ormándi said.

Among the smaller investments made, Ormándi mentioned one at Galvanplastik, based in Székesfehérvár (NW Hungary), which created 40 jobs.

MFB Invest owns a stake in OTP Bank's Russian unit as well as a 49% stake in guarantor Start Tőkegarancia.

MFB Invest had retained earnings of HUF 563 million in 2011, down from HUF 655 million in 2010.