Hungary’s state-owned import-export bank, Eximbank, has reportedly pledged HUF 30 billion (USD 108.3 million) to a consortium of companies to buy the Hunguest hotel chain, reports Valasz.hu.
The purchase of the 14 hotels is being made by Konzum-csoport, a company headed by Gellért Jászai. The hotels are currently in the hands of Tamás Leistinger, who will retain ownership of four Hunguest hotels, two of them in Lillafüred and Szeged in Hungary and the other two in Montenegro and Austria.
The first line of credit for the purchase will be provided jointly by Eximbank and Erste in the amount of EUR 80 million to two companies in the consortium, Hunguest Hotels Szállodaipari Zrt. and Erkel Hotel Gyógyszálló Kft.
The rest of the money, EUR 15.5 million, is being provided directly to the purchaser of the hotel chain, Konzum PE Magántőkealap (Konzum PE Private Capital Fund), 70 percent of which will come from Eximbank and 30 percent from state-owned Hungarian Trade Bank (MKB).
According to Valasz.hu, Gellért Jászai is rumored to be “the strawman of virtually all Hungarian billionaires” and is supposedly close to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s childhood friend and mayor of his hometown Lőrinc Mészáros.
Eximbank, Hungary’s import-export bank, which is funded with public funds, is technically supposed to be providing financing opportunities for Hungarian businesses trying to expand into the international market. But it has made several high-profile lending deals connected with Hungarian oligarchs, including a EUR 21 million loan to media mogul Andy Vajna to buy TV2, and a USD 58 million loan to Orbán’s friend István Garancsi to acquire a large tract of riverfront land in south Buda.