Lőrinc Mészáros’s RM International Zrt received the contract in collaboration with two Chinese companies to construct the new train line from Budapest to Belgrade. In their article, index.hu point out that the government did not mention the owner of RM International Zrt in their communication.
A consortium of RM International Zrt, China Tiejiuju Engineering & Construction Kft and China Railway Electrification Engineering Group Kft will be responsible for completing this project. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, did not name the owners of the companies that won the contract during his announcement in Beijing.
The investment will be coming from Chinese Eximbank. This project is part of a broader Chinese strategy to construct infrastructure in certain countries, which are then completed in association with Chinese firms.
However, the biggest winner from this deal will be Lőrinc Mészáros, just like in case of other government-funded projects. RM International is owned by Mészáros és Mészáros and R-Kord, for which both Mészáros is responsible for. The billionaire’s daughter Beatrix Mészáros manages RM International.
R-Kord had a turnover of €53 million of 2018 and tripled its profits compared to the previous year. It is definitely not short of government projects and is currently working on the €224.5 million reconstructions of Southern Hungary’s railways.
However, the new Belgrade project will dwarf all of Mészáros’ other ventures. The 160km railway line will cost €2.3 billion, which will make it the most expensive Hungarian railway project of all time.
According to Szijjártó, the contract will be signed by the 25th of May, which will come into effect when agreements are finalised between the Hungarian Government and Eximbank. Construction is set to begin at the end of this year or the start of 2020 and the venture is estimated to take 5 years to complete.
The railway line will connect the Balkans with the Western European railway network. Even though the government has stated that this will be a profitable venture for Hungary, index.hu calculated that it could take up to 130 years before the investment breaks even.
Featured image: www.facebook.com/MészárosLőrinc-vállalkozó