In Szolnok on Thursday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gave an address at the official inauguration of a factory expansion which will increase capacity at the plant of Hungarian-owned Béres Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Mr. Orbán said that no modern country can operate without foreign capital, but it is also a fundamental interest for there to be as many large Hungarian-owned enterprises as possible in Hungary.
The Prime Minister said the investment – which was awarded fifty per cent non-returnable funding based on a targeted government decision – is important for the whole country, since a Hungarian company is providing employment for Hungarian people.
The total cost of the project is HUF 3.2 billion (EUR 10.4 million), and will result in the creation of sixty new jobs.
Mr. Orbán praised Béres Pharmaceuticals, noting that family businesses deserve particular appreciation. He remarked that Béres is not satisfied with a Hungarian market presence, but is also taking on international competition. “Under today’s modern global economic conditions those who lack the courage to compete internationally cannot survive as companies with significant long-term success”, he said, adding that Béres Pharmaceuticals is present on the pharmaceuticals market from the United Kingdom to Russia.
According to the Prime Minister, there is a need for a country that is strong enough to offer assistance whenever it sees an opportunity for development and progress. “The programme with which the Government is funding companies such as Béres – which in a European context are medium-sized, but in a Hungarian context are large – was established so that these enterprises and the people who work there feel that their work is important for the whole Hungarian national community”, he said.
Support must be provided to companies that are entering the market, but we must never forget those “who have already achieved results”, the Prime Minister highlighted.
The history of Hungarian industry shows that Hungary’s pharmaceutical industry has always performed outstandingly, the Prime Minister said, adding that this was another reason that the investment was funded. He stressed that Hungary does not want to turn it back on its significant results in the pharmaceutical industry, and accordingly pharmaceutical plants must be developed to enable pharmaceuticals to remain one of the Hungarian national economy’s leading sectors.
Mr. Orbán said that the investment is also important because it is in Szolnok, which found itself in a difficult position following the fall of communism. The Prime Minister said that once again the city has industrial capacity, and unemployment is at around 4 per cent – which is very close to full employment; he added that the Hungarian government pays attention to cities like Szolnok”.
Mr. Orbán observed that
Béres is a Hungarian company that “does not have an image, but a face”, and is an enterprise which links business success with service to the country and the homeland in an ethical manner.
The Prime Minister said that companies of this kind must be valued, citing as examples the following: annual charitable donations by the company’s owners of one hundred thousand bottles of its leading product, “Béres Drops”; the company’s committed support for campaigns promoting a healthy lifestyle; its sponsorship of the Hungarian Handball Association and the Hungarian Olympic team; and its participation in screening programmes across the country.
József Béres, President of Béres Pharmaceuticals Ltd., told reporters that, thanks to the investment, the size of the production area fully meeting the requirements of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) is now 3,700 square metres; production capacity will almost double, and storage capacity has increased by 40 per cent. The project has seen the area for new, GMP-classified pharmaceutical production lines increase by 1,027 square metres, expanding the original floor area of 2,712 square metres by 38 per cent to 3,739 square metres.
The company’s annual production volume is increasing dynamically, and now exceeds 13 million packaging units, with some one thousand tonnes of raw materials and packaging being processed every year. The Szolnok plant, which originally employed 64 people, has increased to 279 – 60 of whom were taken on in 2017 as a result of the new investment project. The new project now means that over a period of more than twenty years HUF 7 billion has been invested in premises, machinery and equipment at the Béres pharmaceutical plant in Szolnok, in addition to which the company has also realised energy-saving environmental protection projects, and introduced an integrated company management system. The majority of previous investment projects were realised using the company’s own resources, supplemented with a total of HUF 296 million in domestic and EU funding.
Béres Pharmaceuticals also owns facilities in Budapest and Miskolc.
According to publically available company data, Béres Pharmaceuticals realised a turnover of over HUF 10.576 billion in 2016, after having posted HUF 20.802 billion in 2015. During the same period, the company’s profits after tax increased from HUF 1.494 billion to HUF 3.286 billion.
Photo: Károly Árvai / kormany.hu