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Nestlé Hungária begins production at new HUF 10bln plant in Western Hungary

Nestlé Hungária, the Hungarian unit of Swiss-based food colossus Nestle, has begun trial production at the company's second, HUF 10 billion pet-food plant in Western Hungary, major business daily Világgazdaság reported on Thursday.

According to the newspaper, Nestlé Hungária plans to hire 250 people to work at the 10,000-square-meter plant in the village of Bük, located about 5km from Hungary's border with Austria. The plant, which will serve as the regional production base for Nestlé's United States-based pet-food division Nestlé Purina PetCare, will export most of its production to other countries in the CEE region.

The other, old Nestlé plant at Bük is producing more than 100,000 tons of pet food annually with 360 employees. Nestlé appeared at Bük in 1998 by buying a local pet food producer together with its trademarks.

Other bases of Nestlé's Hungarian operation are a drink-powder plant in Szerencs (Northeastern Hungary), a hollow chocolate-figure plant in Miskolc and a mineral-water plant in Kékkút (Central Hungary).

Nestlé first invested in Hungary in 1974 into packaging Maggi products. Nescafe production started in 1978, and chocolate production in 1989.

Nestlé has invested more than HUF 44 billion in Hungary so far.

Nestlé Hungária lost HUF 833 million last year after net profit of HUF 1.007 billion in 2009. Sales fell to HUF 80.429 billion from HUF 81.633 billion.

Hungary's pet food industry is mostly made up of Mars, Nestlé and Provimi's Pet Hungária, and with exports of $384.9 million in 2009 Hungary was the seventh-largest pet-food exporter in the world with 4.5% of global markets. Total production increased to 413,001 tons last year form 399,023 in 2009.