Chocolate production to be revived in Hungary

Árklub Ltd. is set to build a chocolate factory in Bátonyterenye, northern Hungary, with a HUF8.3bn investment. The project is going to receive state aid. The plant which will manufacture products of the brand name Vadász (Hunter) is supposed to start its operation at the end of 2019, with a staff of 150 people.

“This development project constitutes a key phase in the revival of Hungary’s once world-class sector, the food industry, more specifically the confectionery industry,” commented Levente Magyar, state secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. “Over the last 30 years, Hungary’s confectionery industry has almost been destroyed; we will turn it around now,” he added. The Hungarian government provides a HUF3.3bn subsidy for the investment, which constitutes 45% of the original budget of HUF7.3bn.

Magyar said the subsidy may be considered also as a diplomatic response to the fact that the Budapest-based plant, owned by Ukrainians, where Vadász chocolates have been manufactured, terminated the contract abruptly at the end of 2017.

Csaba Tóth, Sales & Marketing Director of Árklub Ltd., said the company had been established in 1994 as a family business and had remained profitable ever since. They have 67 products on the market under the brand name ‘Vadász’. The plant in Bátonyterenye will be the company’s first own factory, as so far it manufacturing has been outsourced. The move resolves the biggest problem for the company, namely the lack of production capacity.

A production hall on 15,000 square meters will be built in the first phase by the end of this year. Machinery are to arrive in early 2019 and it will six months to install the technology, after which a trial run may start. Serial production is expected to be launched at the end of 2019. Most of the company’s products will be manufactured in Bátonyterenye.

Other sweeteners

Premium Syrian-owned chocolate maker Ghraoui Csokoládé Manufaktúra opened its first Hungarian store on Andrássy út near the Opera House in Budapest in February. The new store will offer some 120 products, supplied from a temporary facility on Csepel Island in the south of the capital.

The temporary factory currently has 65 employees, trained by six chocolatiers from Damascus, Communications Director Rania Ghraoui told business daily Világgazdaság. The company is expanding further and plans to have 100 employees within a month.

From October 2018, Ghraoui is planning to start the first phase of production at its new HUF7.6bn plant in Hatvan (east of Budapest), creating 540 new jobs. The government is providing HUF1.5bn funding to create the new chocolate production facility. Ghraoui plans to export 95% of the products made in Hungary.

Rania Ghraoui told Világgazdaság that in the next five years the company will open 40 new stores in Hungary and abroad, including Paris, Berlin and Dubai, as well as seeking cooperation with hotel chains and airlines.

The next milestone is expected to be the Salon du Chocolat in Paris running from October 28 to November 1,2018, where 500 exhibitors from 60 countries will present their wares to an estimated 120,000 visitors, and where Ghraoui will be represented as a Hungarian brand.

The communications director told Világgazdaság that wherever the company opens a new store in the world, it will employ at least one Hungarian among its staff, and for this reason Ghraoui welcomes applications from locals who speak Chinese, Japanese or Korean.

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