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Stadler lays cornerstone for train plant in Hungary

Switzerland's Stadler Rail Group laid the cornerstone of a Ft 10 billion aluminum train body plant in the Hungarian city of Szolnok.

Stadler signed a declaration of intent on the construction of an aluminum train body plant in Szolnok in October 2007. Before the signing of the document, the local council of Szolnok decided at an extraordinary meeting to allow Stadler to use an eight-hectare area in the city industrial park for 15 years for a token annual fee of €1 plus VAT.

The plant will have an annual capacity of 200 train bodies, about two-fifths of the total Stadler makes. Stadler's further investments in Hungary will depend on developments in the region's market.

Stadler won a contract from state-owned railway company MÁV to deliver 30 of its Flirt models, with an option to deliver a further 30, in a much disputed tender in the summer of 2005. The contract for delivery of the units came into force only in March 2006, and MAV launched its first Stadler Flirt-model suburban trains in April 2007. The last train of the order was put on the tracks a year later.

MÁV ordered the first 30 trains for €144.6 million and it announced last December that it will take out a €141.6 million loan from Raiffeisen Bank to pay for the remaining 30 vehicles. Delivery of the vehicles will start in February 2009 and end in the middle of 2010.

Stadler Trains Magyarország CEO Zoltán Dunai said earlier this year that they plan to bid on the upcoming tram tenders to be invited by three large Hungarian cities under the transport operative program of Hungary's seven-year development plan soon. Of the three cities, Miskolc plans to purchase 18 trams, Debrecen plans to buy 19 and Szeged nine trams, Dunai said. (Reuters)