Hungarian billionaires receive the most agricultural subsidies in 2014

February 16, 2015

subsidies

Translation of “Simicska, Csányi, Leisztinger: billionaires got the most agricultural subsidies in 2014 as well” (“Simicska, Csányi, Leisztinger: milliárdosok kapták a legtöbb agrártámogatást 2014-ben is“) appearing in the February 12th edition of weekly news magazine Magyar Narancs.

Similarly to 2013, the business empires of the (Lajos) Simicska- (Zsolt) Nyerges duo, of (OTP CEO Sandor) Csanyi and of (corporate raider Tamas) Leisztinger received the most money in agricultural subsidies in Hungary. In 2014 the grants were even higher.

More than HUF 15 billion (USD 68 million) of agricultural subsidies were given to the three largest company groups of Hungary in 2014, according to the calculations of Magyar Narancs.

The business empire of Lajos Simicska and Zsolt Nyerges, of the CEO of OTP Bank Group Csanyi Sandor and that of businessman Leisztinger Tamas received even more than in 2013, in which year it was also these same three company groups ending up with the highest subsidies. There was also some noticeable growth in subsidies from 2013 to 2014 granted to the “circles of Felcsut,” home village of Prime Minister Orban, but the amount is significantly smaller than the sums given to the three largest groups.

Using the data available on the homepage of the Agricultural and Rural Development Agency  Magyar Narancs assembled a chart of the Hungarian state subsidies and also the EU funds that were granted to the companies connected to the multibillionaire businessmen in 2014. Magyar Narancs drew up two separate charts for 2013 and 2014 subsidies. The 2013 data was first assembled and published by K-Monitor in early 2014:

Simicska – Nyerges: Subsidies Nearing HUF 6 billion (USD 27 million) in 2014

The company groups connected to Simicska and Nyerges received HUF 800 million more agricultural subsidies in 2014 than the previous year. (Of this amount land subsidies amounted to HUF 1 billion 724 million), the total adding up to a mere HUF 33 million short of HUF 6 billion.

simicskasarvar_MG_7433w

Most of the money went to interests connected to Mezort Ltd., in which Lajos Simicska, his wife Zsuzsanna Pusztai and also Zsolt Nyerges are shareholders. Mezort is a leading agrobusiness in the North Dunantul region. The company grows plants on 21 thousand hectares, does hunting, trapping and game propagation on 58 thousand hectares, it owns 4 thousand hectares of forests and also native reserves of 880 thousand hectares, according to hvg.hu :

A company connected to Mezort Ltd., Lajta-Hansag Agricultural Production, Trade and Services Corp. received HUF 2 billion 346.2 million from several state and EU funds. One part of this sum was granted with the title “land-based subsidies,”  HUF 680.6 million. Another part, HUF 409 million, with the title “livestock holdings modernization.” (Most of the subsidies given to the companies were under these two titles so  Magyar Narancs charted the subsidies accordingly, too.) Another company connected to Mezort Ltd., Sarvar Agricultural Ltd. received HUF 1 billion 242.9 million. Here, too, the largest subsidies were under sections “land based subsidies” (HUF 374.3 million) and “livestock holdings modernization” (HUF 356 million.) Szombathely Educational Farm Ltd. received a total of HUF 918.6 in 2014, of which land-based subsidies were HUF 918.6 million and livestock holdings modernization HUF 349.7 million.

South-Balaton Agro Plant Production Ltd., in the ownership of Lajta-Hansag Corp., received HUF 86.6 million in land-based subsidies in 2014.

South-Pest County Agricultural Ltd., connected to Zsolt Nyerges received a total of HUF 1 billion 350 milllion.  HUF 44 million was land-based and HUF 241 million was given for modernization. (More on the rocketing growth of the agricultural empire here.)

Charts for 2013-2014:

Simicska–Nyerges-companies

2014 (Million HUF)

2013

Lajta-Hansag

2346

1806

South-Pest County…

1350

1439

Sarvar…

1242

1092

Szombathely Educational Farm

918

759,9

South-Balaton Agro

86,6

82

Harskut…

13,7

9,9

Ovar-Agro

4,1

3,8

Zsuzsanna Pusztai

3,7

1,29

Lajos Simicska

0,78

0

Total

5967 (Rounded Figures)

5195

Harskut Agricultural Ltd. was granted HUF 13.7 million in 2014 under several titles. Both Lajos Simicska and his wife Zsuzsanna Pusztai are members of the executive board of the company and Zsuzsanna Pusztai is also an owner. Moreover, the multibillionaire couple also received subsidies for their own privates lands. Zsuzsanna Pusztai HUF 3.7 million and Lajos Simicska HUF 785,000.

The Csanyi Empire: Subsidies Nearing 6 billion (USD 27 million), too

The agricultural and food empire of Csanyi, Chairman and CEO of OTP Bank Group and Chairman of the Hungarian Football Federation has been receiving close to the same amount in subsidies to that of  the empire of Simicska and Nyerges. Csanyi’s companies got HUF 1 billion more in 2014 than in the previous year, which means that the state of Hungary supported the companies of one of the wealthiest busienssmen with HUF 5 billion 940 million last year. (HUF 2 billion of this were given in land-based subsidies.)

Orbán Viktor; Csányi Sándor; Szabó Levente

The luckiest of the companies was Bolyi Agricultural Production and Trade Ltd. It received HUF 4 billion 122 million. It seems there must have been a recent growth of land purchase by the company since land-based subsidies amounted to HUF 1 billion 6 million from the 2013 subsidies of a “mere” HUF 746 million.  Livestock holdings modernization was helped with HUF 417 million, too. Pick Szeged Salami and Meat-Packing Ltd. received HUF 19.6 million in subsidies in 2014.

Several companies of Bonafarm Group, which holds most of Csanyi’s interests, received large grants, too. Dalmand Agricultural Ltd. booked HUF 1 billion 344 million in 2014 (land-based: HUF 607 million, livestock holdings modernizatons: HUF 111 million.) For companies Fioracs, Gorgonyi, Bolyi and Vemendi Agricultural Ltd.’s most of the subsidies were land-based, ranging between HUF 60.5 million and HUF 107.4 million. Compared to these amounts the HUF 1.85 million subsidy to Bonafarm-Babolna Feeds Ltd. seems peanuts but the sum granted to Csanyi Vineyards Ltd. in Villany, HUF 84.13 million, looks more significant.

It seems Attila Csanyi, son of Sandor Csanyi follows in the footsteps of his father. Csanyi junior is the CEO of Bonafarm Ltd. and owns lands himself, too, or at least this is what appears from the subsidies he received in 2014, HUF 10.4 million, out of which HUF 3.5 million was land based. The wife of Sandor Csanyi, Erika Csanyi, also received agricultural subsidies. HUF 1.1 million under land-based and HUF 2.2 million under other titles in 2014.

 2013 – 2014 subsidies:

Interests of Sandor Csanyi

2014 (Million HUF)

2013

Bolyi … LTD

4122

3590

Dalmandi LTD

1344

1095

Fioracs LTD

107,6

88,9

Gorcsonyi Ltd

107,4

24,3

Csanyi Vineyards

84,1

50,4

Bolyi Agrarian

77,7

51,7

Vemendi Agrarian

60,5

53,9

Pick Szeged … Ltd.

19,6

0

Attila Csanyi

10,4

10

Erika Csanyi

3,38

28,1

Sole-Mizo

0

3,1

Bonafarm-Babolna

1,8

1

Total (Rounded Figures)

5940

4997

Tamas Leisztinger: Subsidies Nearing 4 billion (USD 18 million)

 Interests of Tamas Leisztinger also received billions of agricultural subsidies in 2014 besides those of Simicska and Csanyi, mainly through Domestore, Arago and Forras Ltd.’s.  There are more than a dozen of his companies that are minority or majority owners and received close to HUF 3 billion 839 million in 2014. (Land-based were HUF 1 billion 648.) This amount is HUF 701 more than in 2013. Most state and EU funds went to Alcsiszigeti Agricultural Ltd.: HUF 901 million in total (HUF 321 million land-based, HUF 70.4 million for livestock holdings modernization.) Komaromi Agricultural Production and Services Ltd. with a profile of livestock and plant breeding, seed harvesting, gardening and wine production received HUF 755.9 million (of which land-based were HUF 282 million.) Fuzvolgyi Agrarian Production, Trading and Services Ltd. received HUF 480 million. Three companies of Leisztinger’s interests received subsidies ranging between HUF 300 – 400 million. Another three got funds between HUF 100- 200 million and four were given under HUF 100 million.

Rudolf Gergely; Leisztinger Tamás

2013 – 2014 subsidies:

Tamas Leisztinger’s interests

2014 (Million HUF)

2013

Alcsiszigeti Ltd.

901,6

641

Komaromi… Ltd.

755,9

582,9

Fuzvolgyi… Ltd.

478

352,5

Miklosfai … Ltd.

382,5

230,8

Agardi Farm Ltd.

352,3

405,9

Elza-major…

308

274

Alkotmany Agro

199

182,4

Gyekenyesi Zrt.

176

120,9

Mester-Agro

113

91

NOVAMAG

84,7

158

Piroska-Agro

35,8

35,6

Baraka-major

30,9

0

Kornfarm

20,97

22

Piliskert

Did not belong to Leisztinger anymore

40,5

Total (Rounded Figures)

3839

3138

 The Felcsut Circles: Meszaros, Flier, Tiborcz

Ex-plumber Lorinc Meszaros, today a multibillionaire and a village mayor received HUF 118.3 million in 2014 in subsidies for his agricultural businesses through Buzakalasz Ltd. (In 2013 the company had received “merely” HUF 68 million.) Of the HUF 118.3 million HUF 78.5 million was land-based and HUF 29 million went for livestock holdings modernization. Magyar Narancs inquired specifics about the very farms receiving modernization grants but the magazine was denied the data by the Agricultural and Rural Development Agency  on grounds that they did not believe it was public information. (Lorinc Meszaros has just recently finished developing a pig farm close to Alcsutdoboz. The project was so successful that Prime Minister Orban was personally present at the opening ceremony. Meszaros has also started constructions of a farm near Csakvar. The farm will be capable of breeding more than 12 thousand pigs.

Several family members of Meszaros also received agricultural subsidies last year, among them his brother, previous deputy mayor of Felcsut,  today a member of the municipal council, Janos Meszaros. He received HUF 14.6 million. The daughter of the mayor, Beatrix Meszaros, managing director of Buzakalasz 66 Ltd. received HUF 6.4 million.

More subsidies went to another family close to the Prime Minister, the Flier family. Janos Flier senior and junior received a total of HUF 261 million, which is, in their case, too, more than what they got the previous year (HUF 154 million).  Janos Flier senior spent HUF 226 million of this grant alone on his bovine holdings starting operations in 2014. This farm, too, was opened in the personal presence of Prime Minister Orban. Altogether Flier received HUF 430 million state and EU funds for this one project alone. Flier junior and his sister, Nikolett Flier, both managing directors of Csuti Farm Trading and Services Ltd. received HUF 6.2 million in land-based subsidies in 2014. Nikolett Flier also received a separate land-based subsidy of HUF 5.7 million the same year.

A relative of the Prime Minster’s son-in-law, Zsuzsanna Eszter Tiborcz, was given HUF 14.1 million in 2014. Her brother, Ferenc Istvan Tiborcz, husband of the Prime Minister’s daughter, Racher Orban, received HUF 2 million in land-based agricultural subsidies from public sources in 2014.