The recent purchase of the luxurious Eiffel Palota office building (pictured) by the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) appears to have cost HUF 17.8 billion (USD 60 million) instead of the HUF 11-12 billion (USD 45 million) reported previously by online economical daily napi.hu.
After noticing that the value of fixed assets and immaterial goods at the MNB had increased by HUF 17.8 billion during July, mfor.hu journalists asked the central bank for an explanation.
The MNB replied that “the observed HUF 17.8 billion increase on fixed assets can be solely explained by the National Bank’s acquisition of property. The bank bought the Eiffel Palace office building for a sum of EUR 45.3 million + VAT (approx HUF 18 million at time of posting) as an investment, which will have a beneficial effect on the MNB’s operating results.”
The National Bank said the acquisition had not been paid for from Hungarian taxpayers’ money, adding that it made profits of HUF 26.3 billion (USD 114 milion) last year.
At a reported purchase price of nearly HUF 1,130,000 (USD 5,000) per leasable square meter, the Eiffel Palace is one of Budapest’s most expensive office buildings. According to commercial property brokerage website irodaz.hu, a nearby office building constructed in 1930, which previously served as the Hungarian headquarters of the Russian-owned Sberbank, is for sale for an asking price of HUF 345,000 (USD 1,500) per leasable square meter. The MNB paid over three times this amount per leasable square meter for the Eiffel Palace.
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