See below main business and financial news from the previous week:
BUDAPEST FLAT PRICES ARE LOW COMPARED TO EU AVERAGE
Budapest flats count as cheap among European cities, according to Otthon Centrum and Global Property Monitor’s study concerning real estate markets in capitals and significant financial centres. Read more HERE.
MIDDLE-EAST HOTELIER LEADS BUDAPEST RITZ-CARLTON
Rahim Abu Omar, a professional with experience in hospitality of more than three decades, will be responsible for controlling the hotel, and for further increasing its outstanding position in local, regional, and international markets. Read more HERE.
BUDAPEST-BASED STARTUP AIMOTIVE RAISES USD 38M IN FUNDING
AImotive, a self-driving technology startup headquartered in Budapest, announced the closing of a 38 million dollar Series C funding round. The funding round was led by B Capital Group and Prime Ventures, with participation from Cisco Investments, Samsung Catalyst Fund, and Series A and B investors Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Inventure, Draper Associates and Day One Capital. AImotive will use the funding to continue to develop its proprietary autonomous driving technology which applies the same methodology that supports the high level of safety in the aviation industry.
NEW DIRECT BUS LINE STARTS FROM BUDAPEST TO VIENNA FOR 9 EUROS
A new direct line starts from RegioJet, which connects the capital cities of Hungary and Austria – Budapest and Vienna. Read details HERE.
VEOLIA ACQUIRES POWER PLANT IN HUNGARY
Veolia Energia Magyarország acquired a 98 percent stake of Bakonyi Erőmű, the operator of a power plant in western Hungary that has capacity to generate 132MW of electricity and 360MW of heat energy. Veolia wants to reduce the amount of coal burned at the plant which is fueled mainly with biomass. Veolia owns two other biomass-fueled power plants in Hungary.
NEW PASSENGER CAR SALES SET TO REACH 125,000 IN 2018
The Hungarian Association of Vehicle Importers (MGE) said it expects new passenger car sales in Hungary to rise by 7.5 percent to 125,000 this year. Last year, new passenger car sales jumped 20 percent to 116,000.
HUNGARY JOBLESS RATE FALLS TO 3.8 PC
Hungary’s rolling average three-month jobless rate dropped to 3.8 percent in November, the Central Statistical Office said. The rate fell from 4.0 percent a month earlier and from 4.5 percent a year ago.
OTP RAISES CAPITAL AT SERBIAN UNIT
OTP Bank announced a capital raise at its Serbian unit to 31.6 billion Serbian dinars (EUR 266m) from 16.7 billion. OTP banka Srbija closed the purchase of local peer Vojvodjanska banka (VOBAN) from the National Bank of Greece for 125 million euros late last year.
HUNGARY PPI UP 4.5 PC YR/YR IN NOVEMBER
Industrial producer prices rose by 4.5 percent in November from the same month a year earlier, KSH said. Prices for domestic sales were up 4.8 percent while export prices rose by 4.4 percent. Read more HERE.
EC CLEARS ACQUISITION OF SOFITEL BUDAPEST
The European Commission cleared the acquisition of the Sofitel Budapest Chain Bridge Hotel by Starwood Capital Group and Accor-Pannonia Hotels. Starwood Capital Group said late in November that it had acquired the Sofitel Budapest Chain Bridge Hotel from Orbis Hotel Group for 75 million euros.
PORTFOLIO CLEANUP REDUCES RETAIL LENDING STOCK
Hungarian banks’ retail lending stock dropped by 27 billion forints to 5,826 billion in November from the previous month, falling on a portfolio cleanup, fresh data from the National Bank of Hungary showed. Revaluations, which include sales of non-performing loans, reduced the retail lending stock by almost 28 billion forints during the month.
GOVERNMENT COULD WEIGH HOME CONSTRUCTION VAT RATE EXTENSION IN H2
If the government decides an extension of the preferential VAT rate on home construction is necessary, it will deal with the matter in the second half of this year, National Economy Minister Mihály Varga said on public television. Lawmakers lowered the VAT rate on home construction to 5 percent from 27 percent from 2016, but the rate is set to revert to the former level, which is Hungary’s main VAT rate, from the beginning of 2020. Read more HERE.
JOBBIK SPECULATES ORBÁN’S CABINET PLANNING TO DROP UTILITY BILL CUTS SCHEME
A lawmaker of opposition Jobbik has speculated that the government may be looking to drop its scheme to cut household utility bills, citing several business transactions.