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Biofuel investors call for gov’t subsidies on infrastructure

Companies involved in Hungary's biofuel industry say the government should support their investments by subsidizing infrastructure, such as roads and connections to Hungary's electricity network, which account for about 20% of investors' total costs, officials from the two biggest biofuel investors in Hungary said on Sunday.

Imre Marozsi, who heads Mabio Zrt, which is planning Ft 92 billion worth of investments in Hungary's biofuel sector, and Károly Henger, deputy engineering director of SEKAB Bioenergy Hungary Zrt, which plans projects worth Ft 103 billion, agreed that investors in the sector require government support first and foremost in the area of infrastructure. Both companies plan to launch operations in the middle of 2008, and both are in the process of acquiring necessary permits.
Hungary's government has repeatedly said it aimed to support biofuel investments, although it has not specified how. Zoltán Gőgös of the Agriculture Ministry said earlier that the state plans to subsidize such investments with Ft 100 billion over seven years.
Mabio is owned by Hungarian investors. SEKAB is owned by Sweden's SEKAB (75%) and a company registered in Cyprus (25%). Mabio plans five bioethanol plants in Hungary and SEKAB plans four.
In addition to these, other investors have announced plans to build another 18 bioethanol plants.