Hungary by atlatszo.hu
Companies owned by the Mészáros family won €798 million worth of public tenders so far in 2018
Companies owned by the Mészáros family won 256 billion forints worth of public tenders in the first 10 months of 2018. This is approximately 798 million euros at today’s exchange rate. Almost the entire sum, 93% of this money appertain to the use of EU funds. Based on the documents published in the official bulletin of public procurement, we compiled a list of successful tenders won in the past three months by the most important oligarchs connected to Orban. We simply call them the ’national capitalists.’
Just like in previous years, we are keeping a close watch on public disclosures regarding the nature and value of public procurement tenders won by ten entrepreneurs and companies with close ties to Hungary’s governing party, Fidesz. The reason for this is that a significant part of these companies’ revenue comes from government contracts.
Using the official bulletin of public procurement, this year we are once again compiling a list of ten entrepreneurs/companies closely affiliated with the government, and we are summarizing the value of government contracts awarded to them.
Our spreadsheet following this year’s procurements is available here; we are going to update it regularly until the end of the year. Sums cited in the document also reflect the appreciation of contracts signed before 2018 that took place over the course of the year.
Out of all the enterprises monitored by us, companies owned László Szíjj (one of Lőrinc Mészáros’ business partners) submitted the largest number of successful public procurement bids in 2017.
As for the first half of 2018, the companies owned by Károly Varga (business partner of both Lőrinc Mészáros and László Szíjj, also a stakeholder in their joint ventures) secured the largest number of government contracts.
The last time we published a summary on this issue was August. Here we how the previously mentioned ten Fidesz-friendly entrepreneurs/enterprises fared since then.
From the beginning of August, this construction company owned by Attila Paár was awarded several public procurement tenders with the net worth of 33.7 billion forints (approx. €105 million), both individually and in consortiums. Paár is a friend of PM Orban’s son-in-law, István Tiborcz.
Out of these tenders, the construction of the Magyar Zene Háza (House of Hungarian Music) in Budapest’s famed City Park takes the number one spot with costs reaching a whopping 17.5 billion forints (approx. €55 million).
2. Lőrinc Mészáros
Mészáros closed a great quarter in October, with his various companies netting a hefty 18.5 billion (approx. €58 million) forints in contracts financed by public funds. These contracts include three different cases of sewage works, one program aimed at improving the quality of drinking water, a contract for railway electrical services, and the construction of a security complex for the Paks Nuclear Power Plant in tandem with the WHB.
Including the projects above, companies affiliated with Mészáros netted 256 billion (approx. €798 million) forints worth of public tenders in 2018. 93% of this money (approx. €741 million) is sourced from EU funds.
Starting from the beginning of August, the Zalaegerszeg-based construction firm owned by Imre Peresztegi won a net of 18.3 billion forints (approx. €57 million) in public tenders until the end of October. Most of these form part of three framework contracts with the National Healthcare Services Center aimed at the renovation of various healthcare facilities, in which Laterex Zrt. is also a participant.
4. László Szíjj
The entrepreneur (and friend of Lőrinc Mészáros) who spent his summer sailing the waters of the Adriatic on his luxury yacht also closed a great quarter as his company, Duna Aszfalt Kft., netted 17.6 billion forints (approx. €54.6 million) in public procurement contracts.
Out of this, 8.7 billion (approx. €27 million) forints will be spent on construction works connected to the test track for self-driving cars currently being built in Zalaegerszeg, as well as numerous road rehabilitation contracts from the Hungarian Public Road Nonprofit Plt.
Including the abovementioned figures, Duna Aszfalt netted a total of 255 billion forints (approx. €794 million) in public procurement projects in 2018 so far, of which 101 billion – nearly 40% – is EU funding.
5. Gyula Balásy
Starting from the beginning of August, Lounge Design Kft. and New Land Media Kft., two of the companies in charge of carrying out advertising campaigns for the governments since 2016, submitted successful tenders for 5.1 billion forints (approx. €16 million) worth of contracts from the National Office of Communications operating within the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister.
István Garancsi’s construction company won 1.1 billion forints (approx. €3.4 million) in public procurement contracts over the last three months, 930 million of which will go towards the construction of the ‘nearly zero-energy’ building of the St. Francis Hospital of Budapest.
The government’s favored private security provider won 1 billion forints (approx. €3.1 million) worth of tenders financed by public funds. Two of the most significant projects amongst the ones tendered for are provision of a hostess-service at the Müpa (Palace of Arts) for 420 million forints and securing the buildings of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music for a further 540 million.
8. Károly Varga
Varga also submitted a number of successful bids over the last three months. However, his company, Hódút Kft., ‘only’ won a ‘modest’ 900 million forints (approx. €2.8 million) in public procurement contracts – notably, all of these are joint ventures between Hódút Kft. and László Szíjj’s Duna Aszfalt Kft.
9. Tibor Kuna
Even though the advertising ‘guru’ seems to have fallen out of favor with the government in record time, his companies (Trinity International Communications Kft. and Young&Partners Kft.) went on, somewhat surprisingly, to win approximately 200 million forints (approx. €623,000) worth of public procurement tenders in consortium with Sprint Nyomdaiipari Kft. since the beginning of August. One possible explanation is that these contracts were signed by the National Office of Communication before the news of Kuna’s VAT evasion scandal broke, but were only recently disclosed of.
10. Csaba Csetényi
Advertising companies of Antal Rogán’s neighbor, in charge of carrying out government campaigns prior to the rise of Balásy’s empire, only netted a symbolic 86.6 million forints (approx. €2700,00) in contracts from the National Office of Communication in the three months between the beginning of August and the end of October.
Written by Katalin Erdélyi
English version by Júlia Flóra Mező. You can read the original, Hungarian-language story here.