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rt 3Special Repo


Christmas Shopping Happy hungaricum hunting

 13

Luxury gift ideas from around



 14-15

BUSINESS JOURNAL with into the spirit of the season Get on board for a journey the perfect markets to search out a visit to the Christmas luxurious. something a little more hungaricum gift, or perhaps


VOL. 24. NUMBER 22

NOVEMBER 25, 2016 – DECEMBER 8, 2016


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Find talent, train talent, keep talent


Hungaricum hunting Christmas can be headache when it comes to finding presents, for family, friends or business contacts. Hungaricums, these uniquely Hungarian, products have come to the rescue of many. 13 BUSINESS

Former Dutch PM on climate change “Time to stop talking, start walking” Jan Peter Balkenende, tells delegates at Business Council for Sustainable Development in Hungary’s annual forum, but adds “change is possible”. 8


Contribution cut to stimulate economy

Photo: Tímea Izsó - ITPhoto

Hungary’s leading provider of ICT services celebrates ten years on the market, but CEO Chris Wilson prefers to look at how it can innovate for the future.7 SPECIAL REPORT

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Lower than predicted GDP growth could be offset next year by tax and contribution cuts that are targetted at increasing the country’s competitiveness and giving a robust boost to the economy. 3


Christmas markets raise Advent spirits

Go green now, Forum told

How Depeche Mode found a fanbase

The Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival in central Vörösmarty tér has earned a reputation as one of the most beautiful marketplaces in Central Europe. In 2016 it brings Advent cheer for the 18th time. 18

Numerous organizations and associations attended EuCham’s Green Business Forum, sharing their knowledge, ideas and experience on how to reach and encourage a greener future. 4

British electronic band Depeche Mode occupies an unusual position in Hungarian pop culture. But how exactly did they reach their cult status here, far away and behind the Iron Curtain. 20

2016. 11. 23. 21:40

Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016

3Special Report


Christmas Shopping Happy hungaricum hunting

 13

Luxury gift ideas from around



 14-15

BUSINESS JOURNAL with into the spirit of the season Get on board for a journey perfect markets to search out the a visit to the Christmas luxurious. something a little more hungaricum gift, or perhaps


NOVEMBER 25, 2016 – DECEMBER 8, 2016


HUF 1,250 | €5 | $6 | £3.5

Find talent, train talent, keep talent


Hungaricum hunting Christmas can be headache when it comes to finding presents, for family, friends or business contacts. Hungaricums, these uniquely Hungarian, products have come to the rescue of many. 13


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Former Dutch PM on climate change “Time to stop talking, start walking” Jan Peter Balkenende, tells delegates at Business Council for Sustainable Development in Hungary's annual forum, but adds "change is possible". 8


Contribution cut to stimulate economy

Photo: Tímea Izsó - ITPhoto

Hungary's leading provider of ICT services celebrates ten years on the market by looking to give back to the country via innovation, as it looks to develop for the future.7 SPECIAL REPORT


Lower than predicted GDP growth could be offset next year by tax and contribution cuts that are targetted at increasing the country’s competitiveness and giving a robust boost to the economy. 3


Christmas markets raise Advent spirits

Go green now, Forum told

How Depeche Mode found a fanbase

The Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival in central Vörösmarty tér has earned a reputation as one of the most beautiful marketplaces in Central Europe. In 2016 it brings Advent cheer for the 18th time. 18

Numerous organizations and associations attended EuCham's Green Business Forum, sharing their knowledge, ideas and experience on how to reach and encourage a greener future. 4

British electronic band Depeche Mode occupies an unusual position in Hungarian pop culture. But how exactly did they reach their cult status here, far away and behind the Iron Curtain. 20

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Zsófia Czifra, David Holzer, Levente Hörömpöli-Tóth, Gary J. Morrell, Claudia Patricolo, Mátyás Pödőr, Rob Smyth LISTS: BBJ Research ( NEWS AND PRESS RELEASES:

Should be submitted in English to DESIGN:

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BBJ confirms new editor-in-chief Absolut Media, the publisher of the Budapest Business Journal, has announced it has appointed Robin Marshall as editor-inchief of the newspaper, its website and associated publications. He has been fulfilling the role since September 1 after his predecessor, Tom Popper, left the paper at the end of August. Marshall, who is British, has a long track record in second language publications in Hungary, having moved to the country in 1998 to take up the editor’s position at The Budapest Sun, then Hungary’s largest circulation foreign language newspaper. He performed that role for more than ten years, latterly as both managing editor and publishing director. He left the paper in October 2008, and it closed the following year. In June 2009 he was made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the Birthday Honors list for “services to Anglo-Hungarian relations”. He was invested by His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, at Buckingham Palace in November of that year. While at The Budapest Sun he was also editor of the print publications of the British Chamber of Commerce in Hungary, and since September 2010 has edited first Voice and then Journal, the regular publications of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hungary. He began working with the BBJ in the summer of 2010 and has been involved in a number of Absolut Media’s projects and publications ever since. He was made associate editor of the business journal in July 2014, and has hosted the BBJ Expat CEO of the Year Gala since its launch in 2015. The new editor was presented to members of the business and diplomatic communities at an exclusive event in the Kempinski

Photo: Marianna Sárközy


Hotel Corvinus Budapest on November 16. “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Robin Marshall to this important role,” said Balázs Román, CEO of Absolut Media. “We have worked with him for a number of years; he is a respected and experienced professional and we believe he is an excellent match for the Budapest Business Journal and the company, both in terms of maintaining the quality and reputation of the paper, and in successfully taking the business forward in the future.” Marshall says he is excited to take on what is a big job. “The BBJ is Hungary’s oldest English language publication in existence, having continuously reported on business life here since 1992. It was around when I first came to Budapest; I fully expect it to still be here long after I have gone. There is a great team involved in producing the paper, and I look forward to working with them in developing the publication in the years to come.”


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Then and now

The Budapest Business Journal, HU ISSN 1216-7304, is published bi-weekly on Friday, registration No. 0109069462. It is distributed by HungaroPress. Reproduction or use without permission of editorial or graphic content in any manner is prohibited. ©2011 BUSINESS MEDIA SERVICES LLC with all rights reserved.



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MTI/Zoltán Balogh

The Budapest Business Journal’s print run is audited by MATESZ, 1034 Budapest, Bécsi út 122-124, a member of IFABC.

At left, Veronika Bódizs is serenaded as Miss Universe Hungary 2016 by Hungarian singer of Vietnamese descent Nguyen Thanh Hien and American Hungarian singer András KállaySaunders, at a beauty pageant organized to choose Hungary’s representative at the annual Miss Universe event. Changing trends and fashion are well reflected in the photo above, taken at a beauty pageant organized in 1960 in Hungary.

2016. 11. 23. 21:40

1 News BBJ



Go green now, companies told



VarroDesign win Gold Key Award in NY


Contribution cut to stimulate economy

With just 2% GDP growth in the third-quarter, miraculous fourth-quarter figures would be needed in order to meet the central bank’s growth expectations for the full year. That said, next year’s tax package has been passed and further tax and contribution cuts might increase the country’s competitiveness and give a robust boost to the economy in 2017. ZSÓFIA CZIFRA

The Hungarian economy showed signs of deceleration in the third-quarter, most likely as a result of weak industrial production. Gross domestic product grew by 2% on a year-on-year basis, below analysts’ expectations and also below the 2.6% increase in the second-quarter. Compared to the corresponding period of the previous year, the volume of GDP increased by 1.4% according to seasonally and calendar adjusted and reconciled data. According to data before reconciliation, this year (exceptionally) better representing real economic processes than reconciled ones, the volume of gross domestic product grew by 1.8% in Q3. The main contributors to the growth were market services and agriculture, while industrial performance stagnated and construction halted its increase. Compared to the second quarter, the volume of GDP was up by 0.2% – according to seasonally and calendar adjusted data – in Q3. The feeble performance in industry and construction may be explained by temporary effects - the National Economy Ministry wrote in a reaction to the KSH data. “The summer recesses and the weak external economic downturn caused a loss of momentum in the automotive sector. The construction sector could have shown recovery on a quarterly basis, and the sector will receive a significant contribution from the expected boom in the Home Building Program,” the ministry said. Most analysts expected a slow-down from the second quarter, albeit to a lesser extent. The majority of analysts asked by agreed the poor industrial performance was the main reason behind their subdued expectations. The sector was a drag on growth, as the volume of industrial production contracted 2.2% on a quarter-on-quarter basis and it only stagnated compared to the base period. “The contribution of industry was likely zero to the 12-month GDP growth index and about -0.5 percentage point to the q.o.q. growth. This is what the other sectors had to compensate,” the economic news portal wrote. The latest data means the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) projection for a 2.8% increase for the entire year is now in danger.

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Taking the first three quarters figures into consideration, a robust growth, somewhere around 5% would be needed in order to reach this goal.

Cutting back on contributions After the usual lengthy negotiations, representatives of employers and employees have finally reached an agreement on next year’s minimum wage. Employers were also promised a multi-year program of social contribution cuts. According to the deal, a 15% raise will be carried out to the minimum wage in 2017, together with a 25% raise to the guaranteed wage minimum. Further hikes will follow in 2018, at 8% and 12%, respectively. In return, the much-awaited contribution cut will finally become a reality: employers’ social contribution tax will be lowered by 5pp from the current 27%, as opposed to the 4pp the government previously offered. There will be an additional 2pp cut in 2018. If the wage increase exceeded 11% in the first nine months of 2017, the government would lower the contribution by additional 0.5pp in 2018, economy minister Mihály Varga explained at a press conference following the negotiations. Estimations show that the agreement will shift around HUF 600 billion in the 2017 budget. According to the government, the proposed contribution reduction could give a serious boost to the economy from 2017, and expansion will be bigger than the current 2-3% per year, Varga noted. As a result of the lower contribution and the raise in the minimum wage, wages are likely to be higher in Hungary, which will be a stimulus to employment too, thus the number of vacancies could drop meaningfully and consumption grow further. The country’s growth rate should climb up into a 3-5% range, which may be feasible only if productivity grows faster, and that is the only way Hungarian living standards can approach the European level, Varga told public television M1 in a recent interview. He also noted that, with the planned minimum wage hike, Hungary will not yet catch up to Czech and Slovak wage levels, but in terms of public burdens it will, which could attract new investments. This way, he hopes, Hungary will maintain its leading position in terms of per capita

General rates of corporate taxes with selected countries: How Hungary compares (%) Hungary

United States 11%

(as of 2017)


Bulgaria 3% Serbia 5%

Germany 5%

France 10%

Romania 5% Slovenia 5%

Austria 8%

Poland 6% Czech Republic 6%

China 8%

Spain 8% Source: Deloitte,

Slovakia 7%

FDI. For the time being, no amendment of the 2017 budget will be required, Varga said, although the current agreement was not incorporated in original plans for next year and 2018.

Cutting red tape, too Parliament has passed the tax package for 2017. The new regulations include a number of incentives for enterprises, and they will significantly reduce the tax burden of small- and medium-sized companies. Changes affect small taxes such as the Kata and Kiva schemes, while regulations on healthcare contributions are set to become simpler. In the future, the National Tax and Customs Administration (NAV) will assist and help taxpayers instead of sanction them when committing unintentional mistakes. Also, healthcare contributions will no longer be payable on dividend income and capital gains. This measure is expected to leave HUF 3 bln more with families. The number of companies exempt from paying value added taxes will further increase, as the limit will be raised to HUF 8 million from the current HUF 6 mln.

Croatia 6%

United Kingdom 6%

Improving competitiveness In a separate bill, the government will present plans to Parliament in the coming days, in order to adopt a flat-rate and single-digit corporate tax. As of next year, a 9% corporate tax will replace the current rates of 10% (for small businesses) and 19% (for large companies with more than HUF 500 mln revenue per year). According to estimates by the National Economy Ministry, the move could leave some HUF 145 bln with the businesses every year. At the same time, analysts estimate that the state will lose HUF 170 bln worth of tax revenues due to the measure. However, the 9% corporate tax rate puts Hungary among the countries with the lowest corporate taxes in the world. Actually, excluding tax havens with zero corporate tax rates, only four countries will be ahead of Hungary next year. When looking at the OECD countries, Hungary will jump to second place from its current seventh, and in terms of EU countries, Hungary will have the lowest corporate tax rate from next year. The low rate will likely put Hungary back on the map of more foreign companies, and might result in increased investment activity.

Numbers to watch in the coming weeks Third-quarter investment data will be released on November 28, followed by employment and unemployment figures the next day. Industrial producer prices for October will come out on November 30. December will start with the first estimate of October retail trade figures. December 6 will see two important macro data: the second estimate of the Q3 GDP data will be published, together with the first estimate industrial production figures for October.

2016. 11. 23. 21:40

04 News

Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016

Go green now, economic forum told

“A celebration of proactive collaboration for a better planet and a better future,” is how Michele Orzan, President of EuCham - European Chamber, defined the second Green Economic Forum. CLAUDIA PATRICOLO

Members of numerous organizations and associations attended the forum, which took place in Budapest on November 14, sharing their knowledge, ideas and experience on how to reach and encourage a greener future. “It is better to start a green company now than to become greener later,” commented Veronika Móra, director of the Hungarian Environmental Partnership Foundation (HEPF). The Green Economic Forum is one of the main regional events emphasizing the importance of adapting the businesses to the current environmental needs. “Sustainability is not something lying outside, but it should be an internal skill for every company. And it is not regarding

just the environment,” says Daniel Nemet, founder of Ususty, a company developing intelligent waste management solutions. “We should always remember the importance of the “three Ps”: People, Planet and Profit,” says Orzan. “Interest is growing and nowadays people think that sustainability is important – and not just concerning the business sector. Businessmen alone are not enough. But with the help of the public sector, which is setting rules and minimum requirements, we can expect a better future.”

Environmental due diligence Several companies shared their experiences, describing successful stories. KPMG, for example, has been engaged by various clients to conduct environmental and social due diligence at their suppliers or potential targets in Hungary. “These reviews allowed the investors or buyers in the value chain to assess and mitigate related nonfinancial risks, such as material and waste management, energy usage, labor conditions, health and safety issues. Thanks to this kind of independent third party audit, sustainability is considered by entities at a higher level,” István Szabó, manager of climate change and sustainability services at KPMG, told the Budapest Business Journal afterwards. “The Sustainability team of KPMG in Hungary has recently

Michele Orzan, President of EuCham. been engaged by different clients in telecommunications, energy, SSC, etc. to assist the management to develop their sustainability strategy or local reporting, ensuring transparency and enhanced stakeholder dialogue,” he continues. Smaller companies and startup are also carving out space in this market. Gábor Bertényi is founder of Házikó, an agri-social enterprise which has already won an award for sustainable

business organized by Magyar Telekom in September. “The role of the younger generation is crucial,” says Orzan. “The generations of today carry different values to past generations. Young entrepreneurs are starting green companies as soon as they can, and stakeholders are perceiving the difference.” In fact, among speakers at the Green Economic Forum the number of young entrepreneurs running innovative startups was really high. “Multinational companies are pushed to be sustainable and win awards in this field because they are under a bigger umbrella,” continues Orzan. “I see an improvement by Hungarian companies, although they could do even more. But we can also count on young people. Hungarians are innovative, inventors. They really can create something new.” The eventʼs sponsorship partner was GREENWILL, which is described as “the only non-profit initiative made in Hungary with a worldwide impact”. It provides what it calls “Green Policy” for individuals and organisations for free, available in 30 languages and currently used in more than 110 countries. The Green Policy differs from certifications in the sense that it is a promise to respect the environment, to make that commitment public, and to promote environmentally sustainable practices. See also Time for action on climate change, former Dutch PM warns, page 8.








Private Hospital Obstetrics Orthopedic Center Budapest Plastic Institute Corporate Health Care

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Dr. Rose offers an expanded range of services for its patients in an attractive and modern environment. Patients are offered examinations in 28 fields, preventive screenings and excellent specialists without any waiting time. Besides the Private Hospital, the Obstetrics, the Orthopedic Center and the Budapest Plastic Institute, we also operate a Corporate Health Care department. We provide our complex, premium quality health care services with up-to-date equipment and qualified staff amongst stylish surroundings in the heart of the inner city.

2016. 11. 23. 21:40

News 05

Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016



sponsored by


All cheery on the startup front

Telenor Accelerate, the first corporate startup program in Hungary is inching to its final phase, so the participating teams have been asked to assess their experience so far. Apart from praising the overall pro approach and the quality mentorship, participants have apparently learned most in terms of market entry issues, product development methods and evaluating user needs.

VarroDesign wins Gold Key Award in NY Hungarian designer group VarroDesign won a Gold Key Award in New York, the first Hungarian winner, in the category of Best Lobby Budget/Focused Service, for its work at the Science Hotel in Szeged (pictured), according to a press statement sent to the Budapest Business Journal on November 17. The Gold Key Award for Excellence in Hospitality Design is one of the most prestigious annual awards in the industry, and were being distributed for the 36th time. VarroDesign had two projects nominated out of a total 506 across 21 separate categories. “I am proud that it has been proven that hard work, a unique approach and a style independent of requirements and fashion are traits that can lead to real success in Hungary, and also internationally,” Zoltán Varró of VarroDesign said. “This is the result of team work, in which my business partner István Mercse has had a key role,” he added. The Hungarian designer team’s other work nominated was Budapest’s Michelin-Star Onyx Restaurant, in the category of Best Restaurant Fine Dining.

Car liability insurance rates grow as more people drive Annual rates for vehicle liability insurance in Hungary are expected to rise 10-12% on average, reaching HUF 22,000-25,000, due to increasing car usage and the growing number of insurance payments, according to an analysis by insurance broker AgentaConsulting sent to the Budapest Business Journal. Despite the rise, a trend since 2010, the average price of vehicle liability insurance will still be well below the 2007 record, when the annual average was HUF 35,120, according to data from the National Bank of Hungary. A main driver of the rising prices, Agenta says, is the increasing tendency of car usage on Hungary’s streets, chiefly boosted by dropping vehicle gas prices. Due to increased car usage, more accidents occur, and therefore more insurance payments are being completed. According to calculations by Agenta, the average repair cost of vehicles is around HUF 300,000.

Hungarians see corruption worsening, TI survey says Hungarians believe corruption in the country is getting worse and more than half believe the actions of the government against corruption are insufficient, József Péter Martin, the executive director of Transparency International Hungary, said on November 16 in Budapest, announcing the results of TI’s Global Corruption Barometer. As the barometer shows, Hungarian society feels powerless against corruption, an attitude which further encourages passivity

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and insecurity, Martin was reported as saying. Based on the survey, TI said that one-third of Hungarian citizens believe the political elite to be corrupt, Hungarian news portal reported. Some 28% of Hungarians said they believe corruption is a serious issue in Hungary today, while 29% said the migration crisis is also a serious matter. Martin said that “street corruption” is the most visible in the healthcare sector, with every fifth respondent in TI’s survey admitting to having paid healthcare workers in the national healthcare service in the hope of better treatment, reported.

Ministry drafting legislation for e-car charging The Hungarian government is drafting legislation to regulate the price of electricity used to charge electric cars, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, Hungarian economic daily Világgazdaság reported on November 21. This would spell the end of free charging. Currently electric cars, which are differentiated from others by the application of green license plates, receive many benefits in Hungary, including free charging at charging stations. While the prices are not set, retailers are not able to charge customers who use their charging stations, Világgazdaság reported citing an announcement by the Ministry for National Economy. However, once rules are set, free electric car charging would come to an end. The ministry told the paper that international experience and practice is being taken into consideration in creating the regulatory environment.

“We could immerse in a given topic by getting case studies and we were also expected to work out practical solutions in relation to our own product or that of a different team,” Tamás Baráthi from Zyntern, whose startup focuses on connecting firms with trainee applicants, told the Budapest Business Journal. They got lucky with their mentors, too, as both of them had had in-depth experience with supervising teams with an HR focus. The mentors also made their own networks available, and have been providing invaluable advice concerning market entry and product development. Zyntern is gearing up for the January Demo Day where their prototype should celebrate its debut. “We hope to win the hearts and minds of investors, which is bound to lead to multiple market entries,” Baráthi added. HELPFULNESS Adrián Árkosi from eSports Horizon praised the helpfulness of Telenor along the way. “They brought us together with a lot of great people and they were always there for us,” he said. Help came most handy in relation to orchestrating market entry. The when and how were laid down in great detail. The program also made them realize that they should create two separate platforms, not one. “As a result we have been convinced to run the e-sports training scheme and the competition as two different units,” Árkosi noted. eSports Horizon is scheduled to enter a new country every two-to-three months. KODA has mainly gained a bigger insight as to where it is positioned on the market. “We have learned how to look at our own product from the usersʼ perspective,” CEO Eszter Béres noted. The chemistry with mentor Veronika Pistyur worked extremely well too. “She is a true pro. She has been handling the project from an investorʼs point of view,” Béres said. In addition, teamwork has been taking shape and now everyone knows what his or her scope of responsibilities is. The product has changed a lot too in light of market considerations, user and investor needs. “Our prototype launch is set for January,

which would have been a lot harder to achieve without the program,” Béres said. Bence Töreky from Tickething explained that it got what it had expected: a strong program with lots of practical knowledge through workshops. “We were in a nice position since our firm was up and running already when we joined the Telenor mentorship, so we could apply everything right away,” Töreky said. The Tickething team learned most in terms of process management, since startups are known for swift decisionmaking, but they lack a structured planning of processes. “Our mentor, Péter Oszkó was a great asset as he has hands-on experience in many fields,” Töreky added. He was also pleased to see that large organizations such as Telenor have the power for innovation. Moow had a great time during workshops. As János Ienciu recalled, all of them have been of the highest level and as far as the mentorship itself is concerned, it wasn’t an issue for a second that it would work out perfectly. “It turned out pretty quickly that we speak the same language,” he said. Moow is hoping to maintain the Telenor support in order to make its plans come true. “We are busy with product development and arranging second-stage financing,” Ienciu reported.

2016. 11. 23. 21:40

2Business BBJ

Customer experience emerges as a game changer

As life speeds up and the competition to keep hold of clients becomes ever fiercer, a decisive factor for businesses seems to be keeping their customers loyal, the latest Develor survey reveals. CHRISTIAN KESZTHELYI

The notion of customer experience (CX) has been ringing bells for more and more businesses recently, as trends show keeping clients engaged – and especially handling complaints well – is becoming ever more important. “If a company doesnʼt focus on customer experience, it will find itself amongst the losers,” Zsolt Pozvai, Global CEO of Develor International tells the Budapest Business Journal. Develor has just published the findings of its annual National Customer Experience Survey for the fourth time. “Employee engagement drives customer experience

even more than was expected,” Pozvai tells the BBJ, citing the most significant finding of this year’s survey. “This was the first time we included questions on employee engagement in our survey since we launched it in 2013. It is interesting to learn that 40% of customers said they have encountered demotivated and disengaged staff behavior during their interactions with service providers, and 64% of those said it had left a negative impact.” Having approached the same issue from the point of view of executives, similar trends have been observed. “Some 52% believe that engagement has a great impact, while 40% say that it has a significant impact on service quality and consequently on customers’ loyalty,” Pozvai explains. However, when asking about their own employees’ engagement, the global CEO said bosses feel that only 6% are outstanding, while 28% are perceived as having low engagement. It seems that companies are increasingly becoming aware of the customers’ need for better treatment across the board. “A multichannel or omni-channel approach that provides the customer with an integrated shopping experience is becoming a top priority for businesses, increasing from 44% last year to 52% in 2016,” says Pozvai. Customer journey mapping, a method

Zsolt Pozvai, Global CEO of Develor International. used to see a client’s interactions with the company at various points, is also becoming more popular; today 39% of companies are applying it in order to understand and reflect better on clients’ expectations. Today, 80% of major companies aim to be the customer experience leader, and 82% handle it as top three priority, according to the findings of Develor. The key to success, apparently, is to focus on implementation. “The problem is not the strategy,” says Pozvai “but the successful implementation of related strategic goals which fail on the human aspect. Mainly as the side-effect of

digital transformation and digital channels being in the limelight, less focus, effort and budget is allocated to the development and education of the staff.” That said, employees should not be overwhelmed with new demands. “The fewer standards the better; nobody can cite the whole Bible, but the ten commandments are easy to recall,” Pozvai notes. Due to the advent of the digital age, clients are more informed than ever, their expectations are elevated and they demand immediate assistance. In order to be prepared to meet such requirements, companies need to undergo a fundamental change at their core. “You should start with the culture. Without a corporate culture in which customer-centricity has an integrated importance, you cannot provide a high quality service and clients will leave you. Cultural change is a tough job, but not impossible, but the senior managementʼs definite commitment is a prerequisite,” Pozvai says. “If the strategy is in place, start with your people, as they have a primary role to make your vision and goals happen. Keep in mind that only engaged and trained people with clear expectations who are receiving their managers’ support and supervision will follow you,” he adds.

BÉT to make biz development program available to select companies ELITE, a business development program of the London Stock Exchange Group, will offer select Hungarian businesses key skills and access to a global network from 2017 onwards. LEVENTE HÖRÖMPÖLI-TÓTH

The Budapest Stock Exchange (BÉT) has signed an agreement with ELITE, the London Stock Exchange Group’s successful business development program, to support its implementation in Hungary. ADVERTISEMENT

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The program increases company profile and visibility, promotes relationships and opportunities with potential investors, and supports management best practice and entrepreneurship. “With the ELITE Program, the BÉT is aiming not only to educate, but also

to establish a club that is successful at a European level, where managers of domestic companies can acquire new knowledge and network capital in a variety of seminars, and also get assistance in selecting the most appropriate long-term financing solution for their companies,” said Márton Nagy, chairman of the BÉT. The international dimension of the training program, developed with the contribution of renowned business schools and players in the industry, comes from the international network of ELITE and is based on deep knowledge acquired over the years, while the Hungaryspecific knowledge (e.g. taxation and law) is compiled by BÉT. The Budapest bourse and ELITE will jointly select Hungary’s most ambitious and growing companies to include them in the program’s wider community. “Not only hard economic data such as revenue or profitability will be considered at the selection. So-called soft factors will matter too, like how open-minded the management is and how big a potential the firm shows for steep growth,” said Richárd Végh, CEO of the BÉT. As a result, every year a total of 40 companies, that is 20 per semester,

will have the opportunity to do the 24-month-long training. Tuition amounts to EUR 20,000 for the four semesters and there are talks with the government aimed at preparing a scheme that should relieve the financial burden by involving EU funds.

Beyond bank financing “The focus is on altering the general approach of company executives, since apparently they need to be pushed to realize how important it is to use financial markets for raising capital for their long-term growth,” added Végh. “Apart from mastering key skills, it is equally important to make undertakings understand that they should be aware of different types of capital raising methods well beyond bank financing,” highlighted Luca Peyrano, CEO of ELITE – London Stock Exchange Group. “It won’t necessarily mean an IPO in every case, as it is a level only a handful companies can reach. But other financing tools such as private placements or bond issuance should also be kept on the radar of firms, which is bound provide them with capital and so will help them grow even further.”

2016. 11. 23. 21:40

2 Business

Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016


Building on the talent

IT Services Hungary, the country’s leading provider of ICT services, is celebrating its tenth birthday. But while proud of its achievements, CEO Chris Wilson says he is already looking forward to how the company will evolve. ROBIN MARSHALL

“I don’t want us to be celebrating our 20th anniversary and find that ITSH20 is basically the same company as ITSH10,” says Chris Wilson. The company, founded in 2006, and now employing 4,400 across four sites in Budapest, Debrecen, Pecs and Szeged, has done extremely well, but will need to continue to evolve, he says. ITSH operates in the highlycompetitive SSC market. Given that its speciality is IT services, that puts even more pressure on finding the human talent needed to deliver excellence, particularly given the now widely recognized labor shortage in Hungary. “One of the challenges not just getting staff in the first place, but retaining good people, making sure they are motivated to want to stay,” acknowledges Wilson. One key, he says, is to invest heavily in training and education, recognizing that people are not always able to pick up all the skills they will need simply from being at work. “Some skills are very new, like OpenStack [software that controls large pools of computer, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter] support and developments for

the cloud. We have to take responsibility for providing the right training.”

Right people Finding the right people in the first place also helps, of course, and ITSH has made a virtue of close connections with the colleges in its host cities. “Our university relations are very good: 75% of our staff in Debrecen come through the university there. We have a lot of respect for what they can do. We have a track record of working well with universities; we are able to sit down with them and tell them what skills a student needs. It is not just generic IT knowledge, though that remains important, but also how we can prepare for future technologies. That is why we are doing a lot of training now around new technologies; we need to work constantly with universities to ensure we can support each other with this.” The average age of the staff at ITSH is just 32 years, meaning the operation needs the sort of structure appropriate for a global corporate organization (the company is part of T-Systems International GmbH, and thus Deutsche Telekom AG), yet with the flexibility a young workforce is looking for. “As many as 30% are able to work from home, and not just on odd days; they have a proper work-from-home contract,” says Wilson. “We make sure they have the right work environment first, we audit the environments continuously. It is a very structured process that also gives an opportunity to people who do not live in one of the four cities in which we operate, but are out in the countryside, to work for a global organization.”

Competitive ITSH recently announced plans to create another 360 jobs in its countryside locations. The fact that money is being targeted at the provincial cities is deliberate. “We first took the decision to

CELEBRATING BY GIVING BACK When it came to celebrating its birthday, ITSH decided it wanted to do something positive for Hungary and beyond, and established a weeklong Innovation Boot Camp, led by global chief creative officer Jason Romeyko. “Rather than just beating their chest and saying how fabulous they are – and they are pretty fabulous – these guys have invested their time and energy into giving something back to the community,” explains Romeyko. The aim was to take the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and hothouse and brainstorm ideas until they came up with two schemes that could make a genuine difference. The first, the District 13 Project, is a response to goal 11 (“Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”). The idea is to take the big data that already exists around vehicles, merge it with data about pedestrians, and use those to inform smart junctions that warn drivers about inattentive pedestrians, and pedestrians about the presence of vehicles, through the

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Chris Wilson, CEO of IT Services Hungary. go to the countryside seven years ago. We did so because Budapest was competitive, and now the countryside is getting more competitive too. The market is maturing; companies like ours and other SSCs are investing in Hungary and the skills levels are rising. When we started in 2006, we were basically a customer workbench; if there was a job done in London or Germany that could be done cheaper here, it was moved; two jobs here, four jobs there. Now we have a lot of skill and experience here, we are seeking to leverage that, to move up the value chain, delivering end-to-end services,” Wilson explains. “We want to become more innovative in what we deliver, whether that is through automatization of what we already do, or by looking at innovative ways of finding solutions for the future. We are already starting to contribute to the parent company in terms of products

use of infotainment systems in cars, and smartphones, smartwatches and even smart clothing (Deutsche Telekom is already researching this latter element in Germany) for pedestrians. “The problem is that no one looks forward anymore, everyone is looking down,” Romeyko says. The dangers of even walking along a sidewalk caused by our love affair with smartphones and earphones will only be made worse by the spread of ever quieter hybrid and electric vehicles. Romeyko cites a study by the United States’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that predicts a 19% increase in traffic accidents involving pedestrians. Budapest’s District 13 has one of the highest vehicle-pedestrian accident rates in the city, and the project envisages a pilot junction to test out technologies including smart pavements that light up as a warning for all those looking down rather than forward. The second idea, the Coding Ladder Project, is a response to Goal Four (“Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning”). It seeks to break the poverty cycle of a disadvantaged

and services, rather than just supporting what is there already. So it is not only standard services that we deliver. We are also able to offer other opportunities, no longer just attracting graduates, but also experienced managers and technicians. For example, we recruited a team of skilled resources in Hungary for the platform that supports Deutshce Telekom’s Open Cloud solution, OTC.” With such experienced staff, there is the constant threat of employees being poached by competitors, although, as Wilson says, that is a two-way street: ITSH picks up more than its fair share of talent from competitors. “Staffing will always be a challenge, but I do not think there is anything wrong in that. I have never worked in an environment that was not competitive. We need to be constantly looking at how we can be better than our competitors.”

background leading to less education, leading to unemployment. That has particular relevance in Hungary, where 63% of Roma children never attend secondary school, and the project will also seek to help solve the fact that Hungary currently needs 22,000 coders. The idea is to provide the children with a coding curriculum that encourages them to stay in the school environment, albeit in a dedicated unit, and through a ladder process leads to a qualification. The pilot would see five poor rural communities targeted, linked via the internet to spur connections and add a competitive element. Students would use smart technologies to grow vegetables that they could take home, hopefully incentivizing parents to keep their children in the system, and would be given part time coding jobs along the way, to further boost experience. “The experts we had at the boot camp were very critical about feasibility, and I am very grateful for that,” says Romeyko. “Both these projects are doable, we could start today and we are looking for the right partners to help make that happen. I think it is a very generous thing to do for a tenth anniversary.”

2016. 11. 23. 21:40


2 Business

Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016

Time for action on climate change, former Dutch PM warns

“We have to stop talking and start walking,” Jan Peter Balkenende, former prime minister of the Netherlands, told delegates at a Business Council for Sustainable Development in Hungary (BCSDH) business lunch. Balkenende, a four-time former prime minister of the Netherlands, was speaking about the role of businesses in mitigating climate change. ROBIN MARSHALL

The professor-politician noted he had been in Washington in the previous week, and had been left “a bit worried” by the statements of President-elect Donald Trump and some of his team about not following through on commitments from the breakthrough Paris summit on global warming in 2015. “Of course you can have issues about the climate,” he acknowledged. “But you cannot deny there is a also a man-made component that is happening at present. It is nonsense to deny that.” Pointing out that 80% of the UN’s Millennium Goals had been met, he said change was possible “if there is the willingness to act”. “Businesses and institutions are not only responsible for their own profits and well-being, but they also have a responsibility towards people and to create a better life for the next generation,” said Balkenende. “The


Jan Peter Balkenende, former prime minister of the Netherlands.

“Of course you can have issues about the climate. But you cannot deny there is a also a man-made component that is happening at present. It is nonsense to deny that.” longer you wait to implement measures, the tougher it will be in the future. So we cannot wait, and we need to do it together!” It requires a different way of thinking from business leaders, away from the short-term profit-driven Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism to the more long-

term Germanic model. Leaders have to consider new questions, as society increasingly demands more “moral sensitivity”, he said. “Of course you must be profitable, of course you must have a return on investments, but at the same time you must ask ‘What am I doing for society?’,” he said.

Significant advantage The BCSDH’s annual business lunch was being held on November 17, at the same time as the COP 22 Climate Change Conference in Marrakech. BCSDH says it has 75 member companies that contribute 30% of Hungary’s GDP. Within the framework of its Action 2020 program, the council announced four recommendations for businesses to support a move towards a low-carbon economy (see box).

1. Analyse the local risks and opportunities associated with climate change, and create related action plans 2. Introduce carbon footprint measurement, analyse results and conduct action planning on an ongoing basis with regard to effectively decreasing carbon emissions 3. Identify and create action plans for energy use and/or CO2 emissions related to the processes of consumption and the use of products and services by shaping the attitudes and behaviour of consumers and customers 4. Raise awareness among employees

“It is very important for us at BCSDH to cooperate with those business leaders that are familiar with sustainability and who are aware of the importance of climate protection,” said Attila Chikán Jr., the president of the council. “Through the Action 2020 program we have worked with more than 150 experts over the past years who represent the business, civil and scientific sectors, and this collaboration has resulted in the recommendations announced recently. It’s my conviction that, in the long run, you can only survive as an economic player if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you are innovative and you are sustainable. However, if these components are harmonized, you can obtain a significant competitive advantage,” he added.

Who will be the Management Innovator of 2016?

Excitement is mounting ahead of the announcement of the winner of the Management Innovator award for 2016 on December 16. The shortlisted applicants are BP, GBS, CEU, ELMŰ, Ericsson, GYIOT, LABCOOP, Leadaprenaeur and Neticle. And there is still time to vote for the People’s Choice Award. Get to know the submitted projects and vote for the one you feel is best at ROBIN MARSHALL

Back in May, the Society of Management Innovators (Menedzsment Innovátorok Társasága) announced the Management Innovator Awards in order to find the most innovative leadership, organization governance and human resource

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management practices and enhance knowledge transfer by sharing and publishing the submitted case studies. Some 22 applications were submitted in the first round of the competition. Case studies came from countries as far away as Brazil and Malaysia, while many applicants represented Hungary. Both non-profit

and for-profit organizations, services and industrial companies were represented in the competition. Eight projects were shortlisted by the jury and will have the chance to become the Management Innovator of 2016. There will also be a special award from the BBJ, a yearʼs subscription to the paper, and the jury will also decide on the winner of this in December. The submitted case studies represent the latest trends of various management

innovation topics. Ericcson and Leadapreneur presented different approaches to innovation management. BP, GBS and CEU introduced gamified solutions to leadership and talent management. Labcoop and Neticle demonstrated engaging incentive systems. ELMŰ submitted a strategic controlling case study, while GYIOT was about a new approach to multi-generational cooperation. We will introduce the projects in more detail and announce the winner of the Management Innovator Awards in our January issue. Members of the international jury include Annicken R. Day, founder, CEO and culture strategist at Corporate Spring, Gergely Hodicska, VP of engineering at Ustream (an IBM company), Dr. József Poór, president of the Hungarian Association of HR Professionals, Annemie Ress, founder of PurpleBeach, and Kim Spinder, pirate and innovator at Avanteers.

2016. 11. 23. 21:40

2 Business

Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016


Digital technology essential for legal proffession


Our country recently hosted the 60th annual conference of the UIA (Union Internationale des Avocats; International Association of Lawyers), which was the in the existence of the organization. Wolters Kluwer Kft., publisher of “Jogtár” (a Hungarian legal database) was also present at the event. Since UIA is a multilingual organization and its working languages are English, French and Spanish, the lectures were held in these three languages at the conference in Budapest. At this year’s event the attendants discussed issues of international interest, which always concerned cross-border legal relations. The attendants searched for answers to the challenges raised at the dawn of the 21st century along two main and several sub-themes in the Budapest Marriott Hotel and the InterContinental Budapest. One of the main themes of UIA was entitled “Compliance management: Challenges and opportunities for the legal profession”. According to compliance management, a company or an organization must comply, concerning both its external and internal activity, with social expectations, in addition to the legal rules; the former affect mostly the respect for moral rules. The so-called compliance officer establishes the internal procedures which help control the legal functioning of a company. In addition to control, the compliance officer is responsible

for promoting the elimination of internal abuses through his advice. Corruption- and money laundering related challenges were raised as part of this main theme; concerning this latter, the Fourth European Directive on preventing money laundering (2015/849/ EU) voted last year was discussed, which has to be transposed by the member states into their legal systems by June 2017; it also deals with tax crimes beyond money laundering, as well as combats terrorism financing. The other main theme of the conference was the reinforcement of the data protection regulation. Challenges concerning data theft originate in the explosive development of the digital world. The background of the theme discussion is the European Parliament vote of the new data protection rules this spring, regulation 2016/679/EU and directive 2016/680/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council. The new data protection regulation stipulates that, from 2018, data controller and processor companies must comply with much stricter exigencies to ensure transparency and accountability. The regulation has to be applied directly in every member state from May 25, 2018. According to discussions at the conference, the EU is also seeking to protect the digital world as well, because the aim of the regulation is to strengthen data protection in the digital world and to

promote internet users’ ability to better protect their own data. As in many times in the past, at the end of a conference lasting several days, the general meeting of UIA met in order to adopt a decision in a prominent theme, this year the issue concerned refugees, which became known as Budapest Principles. Jean-Jacques Uetwiller, outgoing president of the UIA initiated the decision, the background of which is one of the greatest challenges of the past few years: mass migration. The former president emphasized at the general meeting in the Hungarian capital that lawyers all around the world have to contribute to the solution of refugee

issues, mainly by studying thoroughly the international and national refugee law, including the right of asylum seekers and the duties of the acting authorities. The aim of the “Fundamental Principles on Refugees” drafted in Budapest is precisely to summarize the above-mentioned rights and obligations, but furthermore, it affects the responsibility of the bar associations, principally in order to assist the successful activity of its members through adequate continuous training. During the congress, several hundred lawyers, jurists and judges from the widest range of countries visited the Wolters Kluwer stand. The short discussions provided insight into the specifics of each country. However, it is a uniform experience that legal professionals are absolutely open to use technological innovations in their work. As they said, nowadays clients choose lawyers not only according to professional fame; it is also an important aspect how quickly and effectively individual needs are satisfied. To this end, the use of digital technology, such as “Jogtár”, is indispensable. Wolters Kluwer, present in 40 countries in the world, is 180-years-old this year and has a leading position across Europe in legal and tax content services. The company employs more than 19,000 persons worldwide. More information about the company is available (in Hungarian) at .


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2016. 11. 23. 21:40


2 Business

Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016

COMPANY NEWS Hungarian government expands cooperation with Lego

Protest accompanies Falco investment inauguration

As an expansion of their existing cooperation, the Hungarian government and Danish toy manufacturer Lego signed a cooperation agreement on education in Budapest on November 22, according to Hungarian news agency MTI. The agreement was signed by Levente Magyar, state secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Brian Baptista, executive director of Lego Education, a member of Lego Group, MTI reported. Under the agreement, educational institutions will apply Lego’s methodology for mathematical education with teacher training programs focusing on learning and teaching through play. The methodologies have been trialed in more than 50 institutions since January 2015. Baptista stressed Lego’s commitment to train the generations of the future. He said that Lego’s methodology encourages better acquisition of knowledge, and improves problem-solving skills and creativity. The educational program helps in motivating children and supports professional knowledge by improving basic skills, said Judit Czunyi-Bertalan, government commissioner in charge of digital content development. She added that it might also help young people to enter the labor market with more active, creative and competitive knowledge.

The November 22 inauguration of a new HUF 6.2 billion laminating plant of Hungarian wood-based panel producer Falco in Szombathely was greeted by protests from locals against alleged pollution, news agency MTI reported. The company also installed two lines of modern laminating equipment that will gradually replace four old ones. The development is foreseen to increase the plant’s annual capacity to 46 million square meters of wood-based paneling. The company has spent a combined HUF 34.85 bln on investments over the past nine years, Chairman of the Board Tibor Novák was reported as saying. The protesting locals were said to be against air and noise pollution they claim the company has caused. Protestors have collected more than 8,000 signatures in Szombathely demanding that Falco should immediately start installing promised filtration equipment, according to MTI. Falco recently made a commitment to install filtration machines at its particleboard (chipboard) factory HUF 8 bln, MTI reported the chairman as saying. Novák also stressed that Falco recently spent HUF 65 million on installing a measuring station to monitor pollution.

GreenGo launches e-car sharing in Budapest

Local startup GreenGo is launching Hungary’s first electric car sharing service


Do you know someone on the move? Send information to position of finance director, according to a press statement sent to the Budapest Business Journal. Kiss started working at BNP Paribas Cardif in 2013 as a leader in risk management and finances and has been finance director for the insurer’s Central European division. He will continue to perform his current duties. After spending nine years at the auditing branch of PwC, Kiss worked as finance director at insurer K&H Biztosító Zrt., before joining BNP Paribas.

MTel HR professional advances to Deutsche Telekom

BNP Paribas Cardif welcomes new CEO Márk István Kiss has been appointed CEO of BNP Paribas Cardif Biztosító Zrt., the Hungarian subsidiary of BNP Paribas, following his promotion from the

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Éva Somorjai has been appointed deputy chief HR officer of Deutsche Telekom Group, a move up from having held a similar position with Hungarian subsidiary Magyar Telekom, according to a press statement. She will take up her new role from January 1. Somorjai has been chief human resources officer at Magyar Telekom since April 1, 2007. Leading the HR branch of Magyar Telekom, she has

Siemens’ commitment brings HUF 10 bln more investment to Budapest Siemens Hungary President-CEO Dale A. Martin announced on November 22 that his company is planning to spend HUF 10 billion on developments at its Budapest plant over the next three years, creating another 150 engineering jobs at the unit manufacturing turbine blades and large steel components for gas and steam power plants. With construction starting this week, Siemens is building a new 10,000 sqm production hall and adding 2,500 sqm to the existing one, said Árpád Goszták, CFO of Siemens Power and Gas Budapest plant, according to Hungarian news agency MTI. Manufacturing of new high added-value products will begin in 2018 and the plant will become one of Europe’s biggest turbine blade factories as a result of the development, MTI reported Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó as saying. PHOTO CREDIT: MTI/Szilárd Koszticsák in the heart of Budapest, offering a total of 45 cars for those looking to find an alternative way of transport in the capital, according to a press statement sent to the Budapest Business Journal. GreenGo aims to offer services to those who regularly travel around in the heart of Budapest, but are not keen on maintaining a car and paying a fortune for parking around the city. One of the many benefits of driving an e-car in Hungary is that no parking fee needs to be paid on e-cars downtown, the press release notes. GreenGo sees that the capital’s public transport trends have changed a lot

recently, and its services are apparently an answer to rising demand among people without cars, who would like to avoid public transport but are not keen to pay for taxis. For those who would like to be part of the service, a downloadable application for iOs and Android smartphones is available, as well as registration on the service’s official website. Cars can be booked through the mobile application before pickup, and once the user has stopped using the car, the fee for usage is automatically withdrawn from the user’s bank account, the press statement explains.

contributed to MTel being awarded the title of Best Workplace in 2012, as well as the titles of Family-friendly Workplace in 2013 and 2015 and Disability-friendly Workplace in 2015, the press statement noted. “The almost ten years Éva has spent in her position significantly contributed to Magyar Telekom being considered, by both market players and employees, as an attractive workplace that is open to the challenges of the future,” said CEO Christopher Mattheisen. “We are proud that Éva will continue her career at the center of Deutsche Telekom, as this is not only personal feedback, but a message to the whole of Magyar Telekom that we are heading in a good direction,” he added.

logistics and investment divisions. He spent 11 years in this position, before becoming the CEO of SPAR Austria’s Graz region for 26 years. He started working in Hungary in 2002 as the CEO of the local unit. He is moving on to his new position as of January, with a commitment to aide SPAR’s growth. Heiszler completed her studies in Budapest’s Corvinus University and Passau’s St. Galleni University. She worked for General Electric between 1992 and 2002 as a financial analyst, before joining Worldmark Hungary as financial controller. She joined SPAR Hungary in 2006 as leader of internal controls. Later she became controlling leader in 2009. She was named as CEO of SPAR Hungary in 2015. She is taking over the duties from Schmuck as of January. Szalai completed his studies in Budapest’s Corvinus University, Strasbourg’s Robert Schuman University and Passau’s St. Galleni University. After six months of internship at Mercedes-Benz in Zurich, he joined L’Oréal Hungary as product manager. He also worked for Porsche Hungary and Michelin Europe as marketing manager and marketing leader, respectively. He joined MOL in 2002, where he specialized in the retail sector from 2006. He was the CEO of MOL Romania. He joined SPAR Hungary in 2014, was named as Interspar sales chief, and is becoming chief sales officer as of January.

Spar Hungary sees management changes With SPAR Hungary executive director Erwin Schmuck becoming a member of the company’s supervisory board, Gabriella Heiszler is taking over his position, with Zsolt Szalai is also joining the management as a chief sales officer, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal on November 11. Schmuck started working at the Graz center of SPAR Austria in 1966, when he was only 17, and has been with the company ever since. Aged 26, he became responsible for SPAR Austria’s IT, business operation planning, technology,

2016. 11. 23. 21:40

Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016


2 Business


Plans to develop Budapest airport area

Budapest Airport and local authorities are working together to develop the surrounding area and enhance the regional competitiveness of the airport. GARY J. MORRELL

The operator of Ferenc Liszt International Airport operator has established the Budapest Airport Region Cluster (BARC) in conjunction with local authorities to develop the airport and the surrounding area. The aim is to enhance the profile of the airport and strengthen its competitiveness in Central and Eastern Europe. Speaking at a conference organized by BARC and Budapest Airport in conjunction with Airports Regions Conference (ARC) at the mothballed Terminal 1, István Papp, vice president of business development at the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency, said the geographical advantages of Hungary would only become a true competitive advantage if linked with improved logistics. “The airport infrastructure offers huge potential as it is considered

The airport’s first terminal is now a listed building. underdeveloped in comparison with the economic potential of the country and the attractiveness of Budapest from a touristic perspective,” Papp said. He added that Budapest’s airport is “comparable to Heathrow in terms of land size and the basic infrastructure as there are two parallel runways. We should take advantage of these characteristics and develop the air traffic infrastructure, logistics centers and the transport connection with the city. Airports are not only physical locations but are often recognized as economic zones and this is the philosophy we should adopt,” he noted. Comparisons with for example Barcelona International Airport were discussed at the event. Business indicators for the airport are favorable. According to Budapest Airport, passenger numbers at Ferenc Liszt International Airport increased by 10% for

2015 to 10.3 million, representing a 12.5% annual growth rate that has outperformed most European airports. Last year saw more than 92,000 air traffic movements and close to 91,500 tons of cargo. Employees of companies at the airport currently stand at around 7,500 and in total there are 65,000 jobs in Hungary associated with airport operations. Passenger traffic is forecast to exceed 11 million in 2016 and surpass 12 million in 2018. The airport currently has 102 scheduled destinations by 41 airlines. Cargo traffic is forecast to exceed 100,000 tons in 2016 according to Budapest Airport. “Our aim to be the leading airport in Central Europe and our main competitors are Prague and Warsaw. Vienna airport is at another level with regard to traffic volume, although we could compete in the quality of services and the level of passenger growth,” commented Gábor Szarvas, director for community affairs and environment at Budapest Airport. As a central element of the airport development program construction of the HUF 50 billion, 145-room ibis Styles Budapest Airport Hotel has started, through a partnership of Budapest Airport and the developer, WING. Budapest Airport plans to invest a further EUR 160 million on airport developments by 2020. This includes the EUR 17 mln Pier B that will deliver 27 new boarding gates and ten new bridges on a 10,000 sqm area with a proposed completion date of fall 2008. Terminal

2C is planned with a proposed delivery of 2020-2021. With regard to logistics, Budapest Airport has undertaken development of a 13,000 sqm logistics base for DHL Express that is due to be completed next summer, employing 300 staff. A second 12,000 sqm logistics facility for TNT is due to complete in May 2017, employing a staff of 300. Further, New Cargo City is planned to deliver a 20,000 sqm cargo handling building in 2018.

Service hub “We see the 18th district as a hub and service center for the airport and need to create a brand or image for the district as a so-called ‘airport city’,” said Attila Ughy, major of District XVIII. “The population of the district has the lowest average age in Budapest in an area with a large supply of green space and easy access to the city center. The district is benefiting from taxes sourced from businesses associated with the airport. Although unemployment in the area is low at 1.5%, the airport area could provide a higher standard of employment possibilities,” he added. The state has plans for a HUF 120150 bln railway link between the airport and the center of Budapest and thus the regional cities. A further HUF 40-50 bln project would see the redevelopment of the main road between the airport and central Budapest.

Wing commence construction of Magyar Telekom HQ

Wing has now commenced construction of the HUF 50 billion, 57,000 sqm Magyar Telekom Group headquarters, the largest single block office under construction in Budapest. GARY J. MORRELL

The Budapest office market is continuing to show positive indicators as Wing has now commenced construction of the 57,000 sqm Magyar Telekom Group headquarters, located in the ninth district, adjacent to the Groupama Arena, home of the Ferencvárosi Torna soccer club. The circa HUF 50 billion project is due to be completed in the second half of 2018, and is being financed by Wing’s own equity and a consortium of UniCredit Bank Hungary and K&H Bank. This is the largest single block office under construction in Budapest, according to Wing. “The complex will provide a working environment for around 4,500 people; we

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needed to establish a single headquarters as we are currently working in six different locations. We are going to create an inspiring environment, one in which creative ideas, innovative solutions and precision exist side-by-side with each other,” said Christopher Mattheisen, CEO of Magyar Telekom at the stonelaying ceremony. The BREEAM “Very Good” accredited building, designed by TIBA Architects Studio, will have a fitness and wellness center on the top floor, a 200-meter outdoor running track, internal park and a 300-person conference center. It will provide 1,350 underground parking spaces and secure storage for more than 300 bicycles. The building is located at the intersection of Könyves Kálmán körút and Üllői út, with direct access to the airport and the metro. An additional 4,000 sqm of space is being developed on a speculative basis and there is an adjacent land plot that provides the possibility for development of a second phase of the project. A 15-year lease has been concluded between Wing and Magyar Telekom. The volume of development in the Budapest office market has increased dramatically with current vacancy standing at just below 11% in a market with around 3.3 million sqm of modern office stock. Developers are looking to conclude preleases as 350,000 sqm of office space is planned to deliver by the end of 2018.

An artist’s impression of what the completed Magyar Telekom HQ will look like. Wing is set to undertake its first speculative industrial project for several years. “We are in a good position in the office market as we have been approached by potential tenants and commenced development of office projects after having agreed large preleases. Built-tosuit developments for the high tech sector seems to have become a niche sector for us,” commented Noah Steinberg, chairman and CEO of Wing. Wing have also commenced construction of the Ericsson research and design

headquarters at the Nobel Prize Winners Research & Development Park located on the Buda side of the Rákóczi Bridge. The 24,000 sqm LEED Gold accredited HUF 20 bln project is due to be delivered at the end of 2017, with a further second phase of around 20,000 sqm planned. Other developers are opting for the builtto-suit option. Futureal is constructing the 25,000 sqm Nokia Tower, the latest office development at the Corvin Promenade project, adjacent to the 15,000 sqm Corvin Technology & Science Park.

2016. 11. 23. 21:40

3Special Report BBJ

Christmas Shopping Happy hungaricum hunting

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Luxury gift ideas from around town

 14-15

Get on board for a journey into the spirit of the season with a visit to the Christmas markets to search out the perfect hungaricum gift, or perhaps something a little more luxurious.

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2016. 11. 23. 21:44



Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016

Happy hungaricum hunting

Out of Christmas present ideas? Looking for something particularly Hungarian? Buying a hungaricum will always do the trick. LEVENTE HÖRÖMPÖLI-TÓTH

Of course, there are a lot of people out there who prefer getting their gift shopping issue done neatly via their computer or smartphone, and luckily they, too, have several options to choose from. For starters, Éléstár has a website called, which is also available in English. The latter may sound trivial, yet it is not, since hungaricum selling sites tend to be Hungarian only versions. Our top pick from this website is spicy szürkemarha (grey beef) salami that holds the promise of being tasty and it also happens to be a certified hungaricum (again, this online shop, just like its bricks-and-mortar counterparts, sells typical Hungarian stuff, but very few officially recognized hungaricums). Before you start browsing frantically, hereʼs an additional insider tip: the szürkemarha item can be found

and ordered only in the Hungarian version of the webshop. By contrast, English speakers are welcome to add, for instance, the excellent wild boar paté with green pepper to their cart without any similar confusion. Another relevant site optimized for foreign eyeballs is boutiquehungaricum. com. The food selection looks strong here and so do beverages. Take the Törley Chardonnay Brut, a highquality sparkling wine, for example, the buying of which means you possess not only a certified hungaricum, but also a guaranteed amount of fun if consumed fast enough and/or in good company. Pálinka, being the national hard liquor, will help go down that slope at even higher speed if needed; however, if you go with Agárdi Prémium Wild Raspberry Pálinka, it is rather recommended to savor every drop of it as an apéritif prior to that Christmas dinner thanks to its one-of-a-kind, noble quality. An ideal after-meal option, in turn, would be to munch on bonbon with pálinka, sold in an 80g package.

liver products. has no English language version, but if you manage to find “Libamáj Tokaji aszúval”, you have reached a really exclusive item. For in that case you get two hungaricums in one, namely goose liver with Tokaji aszú, the trademark






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See also How to be a hungaricum on pages 16-17


Of honey and goose Few are aware of the fact Hungary is a honey producing powerhouse, ranking fourth in terms of production among the member states of the European Union. Accordingly, acacia honey was among the first to be awarded hungaricum certification. Luckily, by now several products are out there that are prepared and packaged in a sophisticated way. Acacia honey with truffles meets this criteria. The awardwinning product is even offered for tasting with blue cheese in Fortnum & Mason, London; a more general recommendation reads that you should consume it with goose and duck foie gras or use it for seasoning hot and cold dressings. In case you are hopelessly out of gift ideas even in terms of hungaricums, the safest bet seems to be to buy goose

wine of Hungary. The liver section offers several other excellent choices as well, such as duck liver with truffles. Happy hungaricum hunting!

W W W . F I G Y E L O . H U

Hungaricums only a click away

Hungary produces a surprising amount of honey, even by EU standards. Some of the best examples are hungaricums.


Christmas can give you a true headache when it comes to finding suitable and different presents, for family, friends or business contacts. Hungaricums, these uniquely Hungarian, often premium, products have come to the rescue of many. Be warned, though, that retailers tend to use the term in a broad sense, labeling any local item of elevated quality as such. But to be precise, there is an official list of certified hungaricums, with only around a dozen eligible for gift purposes. From among them your Christmas shopping radar should be most sensitive to different foodstuffs ranging mainly from sausages and salamis to paprika and spirits such as pálinka or Unicum, the latter having the advantage of coming in a highly distinctive round bottle. (Should you be into less foody – and also more fragile – stuff, your thing is either Zsolnay or Herend porcelain.) While on the hungaricum hunt, those with the affection for end-of-the-year crowds may consider visiting some brick-and-mortar stores in town. The biggest one is located on Vörösmarty tér where your Christmas rush experience is taken to the next level since it hardly gets more central than that in Budapest. A further crowd upgrade awaits in Vásárcsarnok on Vámház körút which hosts an entire hungaricum street in the basement area. But if your head gets dizzy just by the thought of going to the very heart of the city, try cozy Éléstár in Veres Pálné utca, which offers a more low-key environment (though we can’t deny the possibility that may change as a result of this article.)

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Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016

Christmas in Budapest Budapest’s own high street turns into a winter wonderland at this time of the year, with shops full of holiday cheer offering some of the fanciest gifts available in the city – often at eye-popping prices. Whether you are ready to splash out, or just doing a little window shopping, a stroll down the boulevard can be a rewarding way to pass some time. Shown here are some of the interesting gifts we came across during an afternoon stroll around the capital.

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Wellis Infrared Saunas

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Magnificant, unuque, hand made jewellerie by a hungarian artist. Each has a long way from designing, through carefully creating them. Their soul borns in fire and receives their shape and kindness via the soft touch of her exerienced hands. 1061 budapest andrássy u. 7 silka


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The new Seiko Astron GPS Solar World-Time Novak Djokovic Limited Edition has a breathtaking design that reflects the advanced technology. The simple dial gives the watch an understated look and perfect legibility. Astron connects to the GPS network and automatically adjusts, at the touch of a button, to every time zone1 on earth, showing the time with a precision of one second every 100,000 years.

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1If there are changes in the region / time zone, manual time zone selection may be required.

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Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016

Varga Design

Jewellery is one of the most personal gifts someone can receive, which is why Miklós Varga puts so much effort into ensuring each piece he creates is an individual work of art. For almost 40 years the Hungarian master has been creating handcrafted jewellery using his internationally patented cobweb design. He received multiple awards from various international jewellery exhibitions and became supplier of royal families as well. His pieces are made of platinum, silver or gold and each of his creations has a soul. His main intention is to create works of art that families pass down for generations. If you would like to bring home one of his designs, the Varga Jewellery House can be found in downtown Budapest at 6 Haris köz. Opening hours: Monday-Friday 10-18, Saturday 10-16 (in december Sundays as well 10-16)

The Ultimate Kiss

With its new design addition to the famous Hommage à Gustav Klimt collection – a tribute to one of the world’s most famous artists – FREYWILLE invites you to discover the fascinating world of Jugendstil and Gustav Klimt anew. The Kiss (also known as Lovers) served as inspirational source for the new FREYWILLE design – an artistic depiction of love in a pure and strong form. It reveals and reflects feelings of romance, intimacy and devotin as well as the antagonism, but also the undeniable connection between women and men. The gold-woven robe of stars that reflects the universal power of feelings, the sublimity of love and the fusion of body, mind and soul. 1. Bracelet MANCHETTE APHRODITE 2. Jewellery Watch HELENA 3. Earrings MINI-CREOLE 4. Bracelet DONNA BUDAPEST Andrássy út 43. • +36 1 413 01 74 • Régiposta utca 19. • +36 1 318 76 65 • Liszt Ferenc Airport – SkyCourt • +36 1 296 54 22 • • shop.FREYWILLE.COM • FREYWILLE.COM | VIENNA





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Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016


On culinary temptations and CEE competitiveness Dr. Zoltán Buzady Associate Professor of Management, Director of the Leadership&Flow Global Research Network CEU BUSINESS SCHOOL

I feel privileged to live in beautiful Budapest: every day I walk to work across Vörösmarty tér, where the city’s largest and internationally renowned Christmas market is now on show. On my way, I feel tempted by the many culinary options and the luring smell of mulled wine and fried sausages. This culinary and cultural diversity is what attracts so many visitors from year to year. Diversity creates competitiveness. The strength of variety is not only the secret of the Christmas fair, but it is also the reason why – over the past decades – so many foreign companies have started to do business in Hungary and the region. After the initial start-up difficulties they have realized that national-cultural differences across the CEE region strongly influence their businesses. But do these cultural diversity elements still exist today? In what ways are Hungarians, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Romanians and Bulgarians different in their business practices? Together with TARGET, a leading head hunting firm and GfK, a leading market research company, I have asked 60 such questions in a recent survey. We analysed the answers of 1,100 expatriate managers in six CEE countries about their experiences in working with local management. Expatriates reported to us that, in all these countries, the business culture has become more static and risk-averse over the past few years, except in the case of Hungary. But most of them felt that meeting deadlines was a general problem and that local businesses were relatively unorganized and inefficient, Poland and Czech Republic being the best in the pack. Being able to rely on

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“Expatriates reported to us that, in all these countries, the business culture has become more static and risk-averse over the past few years, except in the case of Hungary. But most of them felt that meeting deadlines was a general problem and that local businesses were relatively unorganized and inefficient, Poland and Czech Republic being the best in the pack.” agreed decisions was most difficult in Bulgaria and Romania. Expats with a non-CEE origination also clearly stated that humor is essential in the business context, and this score was highest for Romania. The 1,100 managers reported many other strengths and weaknesses they had experienced in each of the six CEE countries. Some quick summary statements we found: Bulgarians are dedicated to outstanding customer service solutions. Czech managers are very creative and good in problem solving. Polish managers tend to take a wider, strategic view on business matters. Romanian managers understand their competitive markets very well. In Slovakia, it is a key feature to have a good personal relationship. In Hungary they wrote that women are particularly good among the local managers.

Operational dilemmas So which country would you chose for your operations? And what feature would you build your company’s strategy on? These questions and the resulting operational dilemmas are the challenges of good cross-cultural management. Fostering a useful level of diversity can only happen with good leadership and people-management skills. For me this means creating a work environment in which employees are motivated and can experience the state of Flow, a core concept of modern positive psychology. Achieving the best from your CEE operations comes – just as in the case of the many different sausages, food delicacies and the mulled wine – not just from one, single recipe; they are the results of the skillful work of various inputs and people. This column is part of a continuing series of opinion pieces from experts at the CEU Business School in Budapest. The opinions stated here do not necessarily reflect those of the Budapest Business Journal.

How to be a h

There is a long selection process to get recognized as a hungaricum, the evolutionary peak of being a uniquely Hungarian product, but the list is expanding by the year and ever more government efforts are aimed at turning that precious value into hard cash on global markets. LEVENTE HÖRÖMPÖLI-TÓTH

Go anywhere in the world and you reveal your Hungarian origins, and it is more than likely that most foreigners would associate the country with legendary football player Ferenc Puskás. In Germany, Pick salami is another safe bet when it comes to discussing original Hungarian stuff, and at places with an elevated wine culture Tokaj would surely ring a bell too. There are, however, a lot more legacies, products, innovations and even services that are deemed worthy of being remembered and presented on the world stage on every possible occasion. That was the argument followed by the lawmakers in 2012 when the concept of “hungaricums” was enacted. According to the legal definition, a hungaricum is something that has earned the right to be recognized as a top performance of the Hungarian nation thanks to its special, uniquely Hungarian features. Thus far 60 items have made it to the elite club, with five new entries this year. These latter also perfectly demonstrate the diversity of things that can qualify for such high-level state recognition. Törley champagne, Erős Pista ground paprika, the legacy of János Kabay, the Hungarian pharmacist who pioneered the extraction of morphine from poppy straw and founded global pharma company Alkaloida, the one-of-a-kind rocks in the mountains of Bükk and the cimbalom, a piano-like percussive musical instrument fall into four different categories of hungaricums. And there are four more categories beyond those to ensure the widest possible spectrum of values to be embraced. “Ultimately the Hungaricum Committee shall decide what will be recognized as hungaricum. The bottom line is the whole Hungarian culture needs to be reflected in it,” Imre Pesti, chairman of the Hungarian National Hungaricum Association (MNHSZ) tells the Budapest Business Journal. MNHSZ was established by 20 companies with the purpose of helping identify values and getting them registered so that

Imre Pesti, chairman of the Hungarian National Hungaricum Association the best in the end can be declared hungaricums. Its website ( is also in English and Chinese. The selection process is multi-stage and christened “the national value pyramid”. “It all starts at the local level, in villages, small towns or cities where civilians are entitled to submit proposals about adding something to an institutionalized value registry. Annually, several hundred proposals are filed, of which the worthy ones are entered into the municipality or regional value registry, whether inside or outside of Hungary’s borders,” Pesti explained. If something is regarded as having special significance at the county level, in a given sector or among a particular group of Hungarians living abroad, it is recognized as a national value.

Honored “Even the smallest places have key values that serve to keep together the local community, but their significance is simply not big enough to give it higher credit. Still, they need to be honored, and that is what the multi-stage system is for,” Pesti added. From the county, sectoral and national diaspora value registries it takes two more steps upwards to make it hungaricum. At first, the level of national value registry must be reached for which several dozen proposals are submitted per year. And, as has been said, only then comes the Hungaricum Committee itself to decide about the final eligibility. The committee has 21 members who are delegated by different bodies from Parliament, to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA), the various ministries and the chairman of the National Authority of Intellectual Property (SzTNH). The committee is chaired by the minister for agriculture, probably because more than one-third of current hungaricums are agro-food products, including pálinka, Unicum and fröccs − names that will sound familiar not only to ruin-bar patrons. On the other hand, the most crowded category at the moment, holding 34 items, falls within the broad definition of cultural heritage. This can mean anything

2016. 11. 23. 21:45

a hungaricum

Hungaricum promotion is shifting into higher gear

each. But those latter two may be looking forward to newcomers soon.

Innovative values

Kürtőskalács, or the chimney cake, is a registered hungaricum. from Lake Fertő to the intellectual heritage of István Szécheny, the creator of the Chain Bridge, to the operetta music genre. The 12 sites that have been declared part of the UNESCO world heritage became hungaricums automatically, so they didn’t need to go through the pyramid stages described above.

Certain hungaricum categories are particularly under-represented, though. Sport features only the Puskás legacy, the built environment box remains empty, the natural environment has only two items, while industrial and technical solutions as well as tourism and gastronomy both have three items



Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016

“MNHSZ is eager to promote innovative values and in its effort it is deeply committed to help such solutions enter global markets,” Pesti said. MNHSZ therefore frequents international fairs, food and cultural events in Italy, England, China and Scandinavia. “Of course, becoming a hungaricum by itself has a market value already, which should be capitalized on. And international legal protection can be gained more easily too,” the chairman continued. Another potential culinary-bound source of hungaricums may emerge from umbrella brand Áldomás, which was established by the Hungarian National Trading House (MNKH), a government agency charged with promoting Hungarian exports. Áldomás now includes 30 premiumcategory foods and was scheduled to start its global tour in the second half of 2016. Should sales go as planned, an international breakthrough may catapult many products to a hungaricum nomination.

Registering and cherishing values is one thing, getting the most out them, namely money, is a whole different story. That is why the government’s efforts to promote hungaricums inside and beyond the borders are of utmost importance. The Hungaricum Committee does its share. Hungaricums are collected electronically or in form of books, and whenever there is a new item that is awarded the title, a signature event is held in order to draw the lime light to it. In September, public television gave hungaricums a day-long series of programs and lately there have been state-sponsored tours in the United States, Germany and even Mongolia to spread the word about the greatness of these national treasures. For that matter, in America, hungaricums were presented at the 10th Hungarian Festival in Sarasota as part of an interactive exhibition featuring high-tech graphics. These international events were connected with commemorative occasions on the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Uprising, which provided extra opportunity to create a buzz around whatever Hungary can proud of.


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2016. 11. 23. 21:45



Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016

Advent spirits return with Christmas markets

For the 18th year, Budapest is holding its increasingly wellknown Advent and Christmas markets. CLAUDIA PATRICOLO

Having increased in size and popularity over the years, the Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival at central Vörösmarty tér has earned a reputation as one of the most beautiful marketplaces in Central Europe. Dozens of different stands offer gourmet food, mulled wine, fine pottery, wooden artifacts and handmade fabrics,” vintner Andrea Antalné Kiss tells the Budapest Business Journal. “Vendors are judged on their wine quality by the BFTK Nonprofit Kft., and only the best can get the chance to take part to the annual Christmas market.” Quality is everything, and not just for mulled wine. “We have had our stall for many years, so for us it is easier,” say the Vitéz Kürtős stall holders, who asked to remain anonymous. Their stall is one of the most famous places to taste the Hungarian Kürtőskalács chimney or spit cake. “Competition is high but,

Crowds enjoying the light show at the traditional market at Szent István tér. fortunately, we can count on an age-old shop behind us.” Mulled wine of all sorts, sausages galore and countless flavors of chimney cake are surely among the key draws for tourists. “Lots of tourists are visiting


these markets every year,” agrees Antalné Kiss. “Of course, since the season has only just opened, we cannot make a comparison with previous years, but I can say that the number of people is increasing from year to year. These day

we are noticing a strong flow of Spanish tourists.” “Tourists are the key,” add the people from Vitéz Kürtős. “Hungarians do not buy Kürtőskalács here so often because of the price. At the Christmas market stalls the price is higher than in the little shops downtown, so the locals prefer to go somewhere else.” So the Christmas marketplaces in Budapest are about more than just eating Kürtőskalács or drinking mulled wine while wandering around with friends. What makes the Christmas market here so great is the willingness of the people to preserve the unique Hungarian handcrafts. According to the website of the Association of Hungarian Folk Artists (NESZ), people are increasingly interested in buying unusual and innovative homemade products as an alternative to ordinary Christmas gifts. “Preservation, creation and traditionalism are the values that continually define our work,” the website says. In fact, Budapest is betting a lot on locally-made handcrafts, establishing high standards of quality that vendors have to meet in order to take part. A stand can be opened only if the vendors are judged to be among the best in the country in their particular trade or craft. “We need the approval of the


New Principal Announced for Britannica International School Britannica International School has appointed Mr Neil McGarry as the new Principal of Britannica International School. Mr McGarry will move to Budapest with his wife and his son this Winter and will take on his role in January 2017. Neil McGarry is currently working as Deputy Headteacher at La Mare de Carteret High School in Guernsey. He is the lead person for the four school States of Guernsey Federation. Prior to his time in Guernsey, he worked for the British Armed Forces as a consultant Neil McGarry, Principal of Britannica adviser to 7 secondary, 3 Primary and 1 International School. Middle school in Germany, Cyprus and Scotland. He has 25 years experience Furthermore, his final words to the within the British Education system and school: ‘ I cannot wait to get started. has also worked in several schools in Our recent confirmation of continued Leeds and Northallerton in Yorkshire, Accreditation by CIS confirms the quality of what is on offer. The England. At the end of his visit, Neil McGarry students are at the heart of all that we said:’ It has been a pleasure and a do and I will work tirelessly to build on privilege to meet the students, staff the excellent work of my predecessor. and parents of Britannica International January cannot come quickly enough.’ School this week. I would like to Britannica International School thank the whole school community Budapest, established in 1993, was the and Orbital Education for the warm first British style curriculum, secondary welcome I have received from all parties. school in Hungary. The school became There is a real family atmosphere within a member of the Orbital Education the school and myself, my wife and my group of schools in 2008. Today it is a son, who will be joining the school in thriving school for almost 400 students year six, are really looking forward to aged from 5 to 18 years old. Orbital moving to Budapest and fully engaging Education, based in the UK, is one of with everybody at Britannica. I am the leading international school groups, very excited to be leading the school with 10 schools located around the towards a bright and prosperous future. world.

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Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016

Serving mulled wine at the Budapest Christmas Fair at Vörösmarty tér. Association of Hungarian Folk Artists,” pottery vendor Fruzsina Dóra says. “All things considered, this is a folk exhibition and only those artisans who are doing something really good can participate. Tourists’ numbers have

increased in the past years but these kind of handcrafts are mostly bought by Hungarians, due to the difficulty of them being carried on a plane,” she observes. Dòra says that, despite our ever more globalized and brand-

obsessed world, there is still space for these kinds of products. “There are a lot of associations here in Budapest that are helping artisans preserve their work. It is a handcraft, but it has evolved over time and now it represents something traditional and at the same time something modern.” This year will be also greener. The Hungarian Interchurch Aid is taking part in the festival as a key partner and creating something eco-friendly, like the skating rink in front of the Basilica on Szent István tér made not of ice but a special plastic-like material in order to not waste precious water. So, a main theme this year will be “ecological consciousness”: waste will be collected for recycling, only bio-degradable cups and plates will be used, and each stall will donate some money to the association. One of the most popular attractions at Vörösmarty tér takes place each evening at 5 p.m. in the run up to Christmas, when that day’s “window” of the Advent Calendar, projected onto the facade of the Gerbeaud building, is opened. And all of this surrounded by a magical Christmas atmosphere, made of people, lights, aromas, music, choral concerts and folklore performances. Traditionally the main market has not been open on Christmas Day or Boxing Day, but that is changing this year with stall open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days. The arts and craft stalls remain open until December 29, although the

19 While the Vörösmarty tér (November 11, 2016 - January 1, 2017) and Szent István tér (November 27, 2016-January 2, 2017) fairs are by far the biggest and best known in Budapest, smaller markets can generally be found scattered throughout the city, including the Advent in Budapest fair at Városháza Park, near the Deák Ferenc metro station (open until December 27). Look out for others at Fashion Street (Deák Ferenc utca), Liszt Ferenc tér, Gozsdu Udvar and the Castle Garden Bazaar. Many of the five-star hotels also have their own mini-markets during the season. food and drink sellers will remain open for a couple of days later, including from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. on January 1. The second biggest market in town will take place from Sunday (November 27) in Saint Stephen’s square, a relative newcomer having opened for the first time in 2011. Also known as Advent by the Basilica, visitors here can admire a wonderful laser light show thanks to the regular illumination of the Basilica after dark. The fair is open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve, but is closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.


The future of well-diversified portfolios Diófa Asset Management has showed a significant increase in the past three years, and with major property investment deals the company has become one of the largest local investors in Hungary. We asked László Vas, investment director, about the market and the future. Where is this turbulence coming from? Diófa Asset Management has a strong and stable investor background as we manage four real estate funds: besides the Magyar Posta Takarék Real Estate Investment Fund, which is Hungary’s second largest domestic open-ended fund, we also maintain three private real estate funds established for institutional investors. We have transacted a total of EUR 320 million in property investment in the past 2.5 years and we hope more is yet to come.

László Vas, investment director.


fact that the competition has become opportunities to create value for our stronger, more assets are present on investors. Diófa Asset Management the market, providing opportunities for was responsible for 30% of the retail growth. We are proud that we could investment volume in 2016, and, in close significant transactions in the terms of deal numbers, we have been office sector by purchasing the newly- the leading company. We purchased built V17 office building and expand our the Europark first generation shopping portfolio in Infopark with a second office center, and built a strip mall portfolio of 11 Everyone is talking about international scheme. Beyond offices, our focus in schemes countrywide. investors who are finally back again 2016 has definitely been on the retail on the Hungarian market; what is your market. In total, we currently manage a What are the plans for 2017? Where experience on the investment market? portfolio of 230,000 sqm GLA. will this strong investment appetite Hungary offers competitive yield lead the market? volumes and stable assets in the region. Why retail? We expect a similarly turbulent year as The market has changed significantly The retail sector is a very interesting 2016 has been for us. Given the size during the past five years and beside the and challenging market where we see limits of the Hungarian market, it will be

more and more challenging to compete with the aggressive investment strategy driven by international players. For us, our clients are in first place. For 2017 we plan to turn our energy on developments. We will remain active on the retail and industrial sector, while our office portfolio is profitable and stable with more than 90% occupancy. Our professionally strong team is dedicated to turning a first generation shopping center into a modern and sustainable shopping scheme. For our strip mall portfolio, a new brand will strengthen the asset value. We are proud of our achievements and of our local and international client base.


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4 Socialite BBJ

Being Depeses in Hungary

Figuring out just how British electronic band Depeche Mode became quite such a cult hit in Hungary. DAVID HOLZER

The first time I heard the music of Depeche Mode in Hungary was at a Sauna Séance. It fitted perfectly with the dimmed purple lights and the sense of being subtly tortured as part of a mysterious ritual. I wondered how the Sauna Master came to be familiar with such an obscure track. A week or so later, I was watching a Hungarian TV show where minor celebrities imitate superstars. It dawned

on me that the reason the woman I was watching had a mascara beard was because she was meant to be Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode. I then realized she was singing a mangled version of “Personal Jesus”. It was becoming clear to me that Depeche Mode occupies an unusual position in Hungarian pop culture. I wanted to find out why. The first person I spoke to was Hungarian László Kovács, a record collector and the founder of Moiras Records, a music label that specializes in small run LP releases of obscure Hungarian rock, folk and jazz music.

First stirrings in Hungary I’m listening to Depeche Mode as I write this and their music does match perfectly with a misty grey fall day in Hungary. It conjures up comfortingly melancholic images of shrouded figures

drifting through forests that have grown up through abandoned factories. I have my own theory why Mode music is so popular in Hungary – something to do with this combination of the clankingly industrial with romantic and mystical. But I was curious as to what Kovács thought. His answer was rather more down to earth than I expected. “To put it simply,” Kovács said, “they were in the right place at the right time to have their art appreciated in Hungary. In the early ’80s, Hungarian music fans were hungry for modern pop music. Depeche Mode’s first gig in Hungary was at a small football ground called Volán Pálya on the northern outskirts of Budapest on July 23, 1985. It was one of very few played in Hungary by a Western band at that time. Despite state radio rarely playing their music, the show was heavily promoted. Also, the albums “Construction Time Again” and “A Broken Frame” were available at

a modest price, thanks to the Hungarian state record company which had a monopoly and imported cheap Indian and Yugoslav albums bought in bulk. These two Depeche Mode albums were imported from Yugoslavia, where they’d been licensed to RTL Records, a label owned by TV station RTV Ljubljana. So the show was very well attended. Over the years, their records and occasional gigs built up a mystique around the band and they became a cult here.” Depeche Mode’s music also turned out to reproduce well on cassette tapes. Homemade cassette tapes of the band were widely circulated, which helped to grow their underground following. German teen magazine Bravo was another factor in the band’s rise. Bravo could be bought in Yugoslavia, rather more open to the West than Hungary. Teenagers who bought Bravo back from Yugoslavia instantly elevated their cool status. Depeche Mode was a favorite


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Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016

Black tights bad

of the magazine and the band’s posters changed hands for eye-watering sums. This chance combination of factors helped Depeche Mode become far more popular than most other Western bands. Depeche Mode has played in Hungary nine times since 1985, the most recent being 2013. Their biggest show to date was at Ferenc Puskás Stadium in the summer of 2009, where they played to 36,000 people.

Fan Club keeps the faith The Hungarian Depeche Mode Fan Club was formed in 1987. Since then it’s organised more than 300 parties for about 300,000 people. Although fans are getting older, around 1,000 still turn out for every event the HDMFC holds. Members of the fan club told me, “The first gig at the Volán Pálya stadium in 1985 had a deep impact on us as teenagers. This was when we were reborn as ‘Depeches’ (Depeses). Depeche Mode were neither pop nor rock. They simply didn’t fit in and nor did we. We weren’t poppers or rockers, we were Depeses!” Computer programmer Zoltán Susán, now 45 and married with two children, had a similar experience. “I lived in Salgótarján, 120 km from Budapest but an enormous distance culturally. It was the spring of 1985 and I had some money to buy a record. I found the Yugoslav editions of “A Broken Frame” and “Construction Time Again” in our local bookstore – there was no record shop. I


Depeche Mode band mates Martin Gore and Dave Gahan with members of the Hungarian Depeche Mode Fan Club. remembered hearing the name Depeche Mode and bought “Construction Time Again”, listened to it and fell in love. I asked my parents for more money and went back for “A Broken Frame” the next day. I met other DM fans in school who had tapes of the band and we shared.

Being a fan of a world-class alternative or ‘offsider’ band gave me a special feeling.” I discovered just how special this feeling was when I found out that my friend Böbe was also a Depeche Mode fanatic.

Depeche Mode gave thousands of young Hungarians a sense of identity and a shared connection, which still exists today. Back in the mid-’80s, immediately after the end of socialism, this was so powerful it scared the authorities. Böbe was part of that first wave who became fans in 1985. She was one of three sisters who cut their hair short at the back and sides and shaved in the letters DM. This was a big deal in Hungary. To give you some idea of how daring it was to be Depeses, Böbe told me that, because her grandmother who raised her was easy-going, she could wear black tights, one of the signs that she was a fanatic. “Most of my friends,” she said, “had conservative parents and were only allowed to wear brown tights. I was very lucky.” Böbe told me that she discovered the band not long after her mother died. For her, the music of the band offered answers and escape. “We thought their music sounded like praying,” she said. After she told me this, Böbe closed her eyes and listened to the music, a small smile on her face. Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the formation of the Hungarian Depeche Mode Fan Club, making its year-end party on December 29 at the Akvárium Big Hall and Bar particularly special. If you’re curious about what it means to be Depeses in Hungary, you’ll be more than welcome. Find out more at


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4 Socialite

Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016

Takler at 20

Frigyes Bott conjures up b

The Takler Wine Estate, established by the Takler family in Szekszárd in southern Hungary two decades ago, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, according to a press statement sent to the Budapest Business Journal. Its best-known wines are Regnum and Primarius. In 1996, Ferenc Takler founded his winery on a single plot of almost one hectare, situated to the south of Szekszárd, in the Decsi vineyard, which still serves as the center of the estate, according to the statement. The first Kadarka, Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch), Bikavér (Bull’s Blood) and Cabernet Franc wines were made in the cellar of their farmhouse, originally built in 1927.

In my previous column, I merely scratched the surface of ethnic Hungarians making wines beyond the post-Trianon borders, and didn’t even make it beyond presentday Romania. Much closer to Budapest and reachable in around an hour by car, Muzsla is one of the closest of all wine regions to the Hungarian capital, yet it lies in Slovakia. However, it is home to some of the most elegant wines made in the region by Hungarian hands.

Excellent vintage These plots at the Görögszó, Strázsahegy and Felső-cinka vineyards, established around 2000, have provided grapes for the winery’s top Merlot wine. Regnum is a Szekszárd-style classical Bordeaux blend, dominated by Merlot and Cabernet Franc, while Primarius, the wineryʼs flagship Merlot, is made only when the seasons provide a suitably excellent vintage. Though it is not widely known in Hungary, legendary wine blogger Alder Yarrow gave the

Takler Trio: From left, András Takler, Ferenc Takler Snr., and Ferenc Takler Jr. Proprietors Reserve Cabernet Franc 2003 a score of 9.5 points out of 10 – which helped bring the wine to the top New York restaurants at a fairly high price. Such success in the export market significantly contributed to the further development of the winery. Ferenc Takler, who was named Winemaker of the Year in 2004, has been working together with his two sons from the very beginning. Today, Ferenc Takler Jr. is the chief winemaker in the winery, responsible for the whole range of processing and maturing tasks, while András Takler manages the company’s commercial and marketing activities. According to the celebratory press release, the future challenge of the winery is to continue to work at the highest level, at the same time focusing even on the minor details. – Christan Keszthelyi



Having spoken to certain Slovakian wine experts, they seriously rate ethnic Hungarian vintners, such as Frigyes Bott, but also refer to them as “Hungarian”, due not only to ethnicity but also to their approach to winemaking. A visit to Bott in the very Hungarian village of Béla, about 8 km from Esztergom, revealed some of the best examples of wines made from grapes often considered Hungarian, as well as from international varieties. ‘Frici’ Bott, who is assisted in the winery by his son Frici Junior, has been making wine for just ten years on land which he extensively replanted. The vines are wedged between the Danube and Garam rivers, which provide protection from climatic extremes, and grow in volcanic andesite soil that is covered by a layer of water-retaining clay – which is handy in hot vintages, such as 2016. While it may ADVERTISEMENT

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sound like classic marketing spiel when Bott describes his vineyards as being blessed with ideal conditions, the proof has been very much in the pudding, and I can’t recall having had a wine that is nothing less than very good in several years of tasting them; the best wines are nothing short of outstanding. Some 40% of Frigyes Bott’s wines are sold in Hungary and are available at Bortársaság and Radovin. The recently released 2015 Bott wines have vibrant structure-building acidity that should provide a long life for these fledgling specimens; that’s if they make it beyond their youth without being imbibed, a real risk for wines as popular as these. Bott’s 2013 Hárslevelű (known as Lipovina in Slovakia) is currently is a beautiful state with a Riesling-like petrol note to go with the baked apple, pear and marmalade. It is quite full-bodied and intense on the palate but still fresh as a daisy with the racy acidity cutting through the richness and delivering freshness, finesse and long length. The only problem with it is that the bottle I tried this week was one of the very last, although Radovin still appears to stock it (HUF 5,300). The 2015 (HUF 4,950) is a baby in comparison but has everything in the right place and strikes a nice balance between serious structure, smooth texture and zesty acidity. Incidentally, Hárslevelű, and not the more widely fancied Furmint, is Bott’s favorite white grape and is also a candidate for mine, given the balanced and complete wines it is capable of making. Furmint existed in the region before the phylloxera louse devastated the Muzsla vineyards, which once supplied the archbishopric of Esztergom across the Danube, and was known as Szigeti. The 2015 is still a bit sharp with lime zest and grapefruit notes but has an exciting saline finish. Furmint and Hárs, the two grapes so closely associated with Tokaj but also Somló, are joined by Juhfark which is synonymous with Somló in the Bott wine known as Super Granum 2015, with the Juhfark spending six days on the skins to ramp up the complexity. The 2015 is more restrained and elegant than the rich and unctuous 2013. The Furmint and Granum

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New Year’s Eve



H - 1052 Budapest, Tel: +36.1.411.09.33, +36.1.411.09.34 Vigadó tér 3. kikötő E - mail:

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Budapest Business Journal | November 25 – December 8, 2016


p benchmark Hungarian wines beyond the border

Frigyes Bott’s vineyard are wedged between the Danube and Garam rivers. For those that like the wines so much they want to stay, the Béla 86 Panzio offers four twin-bed rooms. from 2015 are not yet on the shelves and the Furmint should round out a bit in the meantime. Bott makes his wines according to organic and biodynamic principles, athough they remain uncertified as the vintner doesn’t care about getting the paperwork.All the wines are fermented in used barrels by the wild yeast naturally present on the grapes and in the cellar, and also aged in used oak. Because the action of wild yeasts is less consistent than that of cultured yeasts, the individual barrels each have their own character, which leads the Bott family to blend the barrels to arrive at the best possible final wine, the young Frici explains. White wines fermented ADVERTISEMENT

by indigenous yeast are typically less overtly aromatic than those made from cultured yeasts, and the Sauvignon Blanc 2015 is a case in point. However, whatever it misses on the nose, it sure makes up for on the firm palate and it is the finish that stays in our minds in the bigger picture. Riesling (Rajnai rizling) is another classic from Bott but the village of Béla is also home to Chateau Béla, where German Mosel maestro Egon Müller and Slovakian winemaker Miroslav Petrech cooperate to make excellent Riesling that is exciting to taste alongside Müller Mosel Riesling – the Slovakian version typically being more ripe and tropical than the linear, focussed and racy Mosel.

Frigyes Bott brought Kadarka cuttings from Géza Balla (see previous column) from the Ménes wine region (Miniş in Romanian) near the city of Arad to plant in Muzsla. The 2015 single varietal offering of Kadarka from Bott is a remarkably pure expression of this tricky grape that needs lots of tender loving care to make good but typically light red wines. The wine in question is aromatic and airy, light but with layers of flavor, with that trademark rosehip note, blood orange, cranberry and raspberry with playful acidity – it is up there with the best in Hungary, if not beyond them. Hungarian vintners have been making good progress with the Kadarka grape, which is believed to have made it to Hungary via

Serbs fleeing Ottoman occupation. Down in its Hungarian hotbed of Szekszárd, excellent and ethereal releases from 2015 include those from Prantner and János Németh. Earlier too many Kadarkas were dressed up in an oaky cloak that hid its unique character. Zoltán Heimann has released a fuller-bodied Kadarka, Céh Kereszt Kadarka 2015, which is selection of the best clones that have been developed over the last decade. It succeeds in retaining the (red) fruity-cum-spicy varietal character, while taking on some ageing in new oak, which ramps up the body and intensity. Half of it was aged in new 500-liter barrels, while the other half was aged either in the tank or in much larger ászok barrels.


“My hometown, Pest”

An evening of theatre with Béla Fesztbaum, based on the writings of Ferenc Molnár Premiere

We are familiar of the author of brilliant comedies or The Boys of Paul Street, but do not really know the passionate, sensitive publicist who held a mirror to its beloved Budapest in the background of his worldfamous theatre plays, next to a coffee house table, in his unique toned articles. His sharp vision, and fierce sense of humor characterize these writings. Molnár is interested in everything, whether it is the corrupt public life, the forever surviving common men of Pest, the theatre at the mercy of political storms or an elegant pig slaughtering feast in Lipótváros district... Our audience will view a one-man theatre show that evokes both the “theatre” and the “coffeehouse” author, his unfamiliar

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feature, through his text originally not intended for the theatre. The evening will be accompanied by a musical trio, with music composed by Béla Fesztbaum himself. Premiere: November 30, 2016 Further performances: 6, 18 December Rózsavölgyi Salon Arts & Café 1052 Budapest, Szervita tér 5. • Tel.: +36 1 486 33 38 • Ticket Information: +36 30 463 88 22 • • • rozsavolgyiszalon

2016. 11. 23. 21:41



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