The Prime Minister said that the plant’s inauguration is an important milestone in the history of Hungary’s industry and signifies a new beginning for the food industry, as the Tiszapüspöki project is the largest food industry investment of its kind since the fall of communism. Citing estimates from Eximbank, Mr. Orbán added that the plant’s activities will increase the country’s GDP by 185 billion forints (EUR 600 million).
In his speech, the Prime Minister also thanked Kall Ingredients Ltd. “for enabling us to celebrate the demise of the EU sugar quota with such a wonderful event”, adding that “We hope other quotas will soon follow its example”.
Mr. Orbán said that the sugar quota had been catastrophic for Hungary, and “it was the reason that, of the twelve sugar refineries operating at the time of the fall of communism, only one is still in existence”. Two world wars, the Great Depression and a socialist planned economy had been unable to destroy those other plants, he said, “but they fell victim to the fall of communism, EU accession and the sugar quota”. He said that, in his opinion, “one of the extremely prosaic reasons” for the demise of the Hungarian sugar industry was that in the end none of the sugar refineries were in Hungarian hands.
One of the lessons that can be learnt from this is that “without a strong national industry we will always be vulnerable”, Mr. Orbán said.
The Prime Minister also said that in Hungary today 217,000 people make a living in agriculture, which indicates that the number of people employed in the sector has increased by 25 per cent over the past six years.
He also mentioned corn production, because Kall Ingredients produces isosugar, which is a sweet and colourless glucose-fructose syrup made from starch extracted from maize. He said that the new plant in Tiszapüspök also shows that Hungary has now become a full participant in the global competition in corn products.
In Hungary today there is an “economic policy of factory building”, he declared. He observed that this was the twenty-ninth plant to be inaugurated since 1 January, which shows that “Hungary has finally begun to pull itself together”. He added that the total value of domestic and foreign investments realised during the first ten months of the year exceeds 450 billion forints (EUR 1.45bn), towards which the Government has provided 40 billion forints in funding. Mr. Orbán noted that these new facilities have provided 4,606 new jobs over the past ten months. “Hungary’s greatest strength lies in its workers, who are doing a world class job”, he said.
According to Mr. Orbán, Hungary is once again standing at the gateway to a great era, and he expressed his hope that the growth trajectory that began in 2014 will last at least as long as the country’s economic “golden age” between the Compromise of 1867 and the First World War.
The inauguration ceremony was also attended by Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga, Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas and the local Fidesz Member of Parliament István Balog. The latter also stated that it was a historic day in the country’s industrial history, as, since the fall of communism in 1989, the new Tiszapüspök plant is the largest new food industry investment with 100 per cent Hungarian ownership. He stressed that once production begins the plant will also contribute significantly to the country’s GDP.
Mr. Balog said that the region has good levels of pay, and has set out on an economically stable and secure path.
Managing Director of Kall Ingredients Ltd. Vanda Zahola-Pollák said that she is proud of the fact that the plant has been realised with Hungarian expertise. The site of the greenfield investment covers 68 hectares and construction took 582 days, during which a total of one hundred thousand tons of concrete and 5,200 tons of steel were used, she said.
In addition to the Prime Minister, the ceremonial ribbon was cut by László Kárpáti and Lőrinc Mészáros on behalf of the owners.
According to the press information distributed at the event, the company’s majority owner is László Kárpáti, with R-kord Ltd. and Opus Global Plc. listed as co-owners. The Hungarian-owned company produces food industry ingredients, sugar and starch products, high-quality alcohol for medical and food industry use, and feed ingredients, primarily for export.
The new plant will process 530,000 tonnes of GMO-free Hungarian maize every year, making it one of the highest capacity cereal processing plants in Europe. It will primarily produce natural sweeteners, isosugars and other liquid sugars, processing cereals without generating waste.
The new plant is creating some 500 new jobs, as well as indirectly employing an additional 750 people via services and suppliers.
The 45 billion-forint plant was realised with 9.2 billion forints in Government funding. MKB Bank and Eximbank provided a 30 billion-forint loan at a market rate for realisation of the project.
The related press release also stated that when it begins operations the new plant will increase Hungary’s GDP by 0.2 per cent, and contribute 0.8 per cent of the total gross domestic product generated by the country’s industry. The annual turnover of the plant is expected to be some 55 billion forints (EUR 177 million).