Mayor of Gyula Erno Gorgenyi said the planned investment could create up to 500 new jobs, but its implementation would depend on the success of the government’s strategy to double the number of hogs in Hungary from the current 3m to 6m head by 2020, as reported by local news agency MTI.
The investment’s potential success will be largely determined by Gyulahús’ ability to find new export markets for its products. Zsolt Daka, managing director at the meat processor, said that Gyulahús has been able to manage the effects of the embargo, which was placed by Russia on the EU’s farm products, by compensating its losses with increased export sales to the UK, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. In addition, Gyulahús has managed to raise its sales in the domestic market, according to Daka.
Previously, exports to the Russian market represented some 20% of the company’s foreign sales, as shown by data from the Hungarian meat processor.
On a related note, Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to a meeting in Moscow this month to counterbalance the EU’s sanctions on the Russian economy and seek potential partnerships in various fields. In the long term, Moscow’s strengthened cooperation with Budapest could result in the lifting of Russia’s sanctions on imports of Hungarian processed meat products.
Gyulahús is owned by the municipal authorities of Gyula. The firm was set up in 2012 through a takeover of insolvent meat processor Gyulai Húskombinat. To finance the acquisition and the necessary investments, the municipality was awarded an investment grant of some HUF1.8 billion (€5.8m) to buy the assets of Gyulai Húskombinat.
The government’s efforts to maintain the meat processing facility in Gyula are part of the cabinet’s efforts to boost the consumption of pork in Hungary. In 2014, the government unveiled its flagship HUF1.6bn (€5.1m) programme under which it aims to support the country’s pig breeding and pork meat processing businesses.
Currently, the Hungarian meat processor is operated by a workforce of about 310 employees. In 2015, Gyulahús reported revenues of some HUF5bn (€16m), and a net profit of HUF500m (€1.6m).
The company’s product portfolio includes a wide range of sausages, salamis, pâtés, hams, cold cuts, pastes and many other products made with the use of pork and game meat, according to data from Gyulahús. The firm said its facilities were ISO 22000- and HACCP-certified. In addition to its meat processing facility, Gyulahús owns two retail outlets in Gyula and neighbouring Bekescsaba.
The Hungarian meat processing plant was set up in 1978 as a state-owned entity merged with the local slaughterhouse.