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Stadler mulls major development in Szolnok

The Stadler Rail Group is planning to build a new plant and is also looking for a strategic partner for the development of metro trains and bid for BKV contract, business daily Világgazdaság said on Wednesday.

One of the group's two Hungarian-based units, the rail vehicle repair plant in Pusztaszabolcs (Central Hungary), which employs 31 workers, had revenue of close to HUF 1.2 billion, operating profit of HUF 340 million and after-tax and net profit of around HUF 200 million in 2010.

Managing Director Zoltán Dunai said the three-year-old plant, set up at a cost of €8.5 million, has achieved unprecedented profit as a percentage of revenue in the rail vehicle repair industry and the owner has not taken any dividends from the company's profits.

Stadler's other unit, the Szolnok (E Hungary) aluminum train body plant, originally set up at a cost of HUF 7 billion, employs 225 workers and had revenue of HUF 3.5 billion.

Stadler plans to move further maintenance work to Pusztaszabolcs. The plant is now working on maintenance of the 60 FLIRT suburban rail vehicles MÁV ordered from Stadler's parent company, which generated two-thirds of last year's sales.

The capacity of the Pusztaszabolcs unit also suits the maintenance work of the 10 Talent rail vehicles operated by MÁV-Start. The MÁV tender procedure for the bidding negotiations of this contract is already underway, and Stadler would like to make a good offer for the six-year job.

The managing director said plans to construct a new assembly plant worth billions of forints in Szolnok are awaiting approval.

"If the plan gets the go-ahead, we could lay the cornerstone as early as this year and production could begin in the second half of 2012. This would gradually create another 300-350 new jobs."

The new plant could participate in the production of the next generation of FLIRT trains. The company is also preparing for the Budapest tender of around 100 trams.

"We are interested in the metro tender as well. We are looking for a strategic partner, with whom a joint metro development project could be started in order to successfully bid in the BKV tender," Dunai said.