Unindustria Ungheria defines itself as a "meeting space for those who recognize Hungary as a place for investment, development and growth of their businesses." As the president of the organization Dr. Roberto Massucco explains to Diplomacy&Trade, their goal is to support the Italian business community, giving value to the associates by organizing meetings, facilitating the aggregation and development of relationships between the different presences in the area.
The General Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria) is the main representative organization of Italian manufacturing and service companies that groups more than 150,000 companies. Its goal is to protect and represent the interests of the market and companies. “Unindustria is a temporary name; as Confindustria Hungary does not yet exist, we are following a procedure to obtain Confindustria's recognition and become Confindustria Ungheria,” Dr. Roberto Massucco highlights.
He adds that “we are a group of entrepreneurs; about twenty companies whose first objective is to develop their contents and consolidate the project. Of course, we want to unite the companies to create the so-called ‘Italian system’. We want to team up and create something different, we want to become the representative of the interests of the community of Italian entrepreneurs. There are other Italian institutions in Hungary, we are not born as an alternative but we believe in union and collaboration to be able to play, together, a primary role as Italian companies with Hungarian institutions. This is a private association, the members participate voluntarily. Growing today is our goal so that our voice can be much louder.”
Strong Italian business presence
In the last 30 years, Hungary was one of the preferred destination for Italian investors. Over 3,500 legal entities are currently working with Italian capital in this country, operating in a variety of fields, out of which about 400 are estimated to be production/assembly plants. “We also estimate a resident population of about 7.500 Italians in Hungary. Funny to say, the estimated population of Hungarians to Italy is about the same size, but we still do not see such a large number of Hungarian investments to Italy,” the Unindustria Ungheria President notes.
In the first half of 2021, 85 Italian companies were founded in Hungary, while in the second half, it was 87 – a total of 172 companies. It is still less that the 2020 number. The main sectors in which Italians invested in Hungary in 2021 were business management, wholesale and retail. In the first five months of 2022, 55 Italian companies were founded in Hungary, mainly in the wholesale trade sector. The vast majority of Italian companies in Hungary, both for 2021 and the first months of 2022, have sprung up in the city of Budapest. This result is due to the fact that Budapest is not only the capital but also the main financial center of the country, he adds.
Ethics and sustainability
As for the ways and means, initiatives, etc. through which Unindustria Ungheria wishes to achieve your objectives, the President says the first step is to be able to create more attention and get more companies to join the project, to focus on results. “For example, one of the problems in Hungary is the shortage of labor and supply. I can talk about something I know well. Debrecen is a university city and you have to try to get closer to universities to pick up talents, you need to develop dynamics that support the companies participating in this project in finding advantageous solutions. There are so many things to do and by grouping 50, 60 or 100 companies, together we can achieve more results.”
He is of the view that ethics and sustainability must be Unindustria's guiding values and through Unindustria must help all companies move in that direction “because we have entered a new dimension, with new working relationships within companies. It is important to pay more and more attention to the people who work with us and to those who follow us because we pass through this world and we must leave a positive imprint. We must be the driving force but we must also be able to push people forward to create a more sustainable environment for our future and for our children.”
A privileged table of consultation
The association's activities are also aimed at developing bilateral industrial partnerships and relations with the local economic community interested in Italy. “We believe that some of the existing bilateral commercial relations already in place, have the potential to be converted in direct investments to Italy in those fields where Hungary is a center of excellence (software, medical, agrobusiness…). One of the aims of Unindustria, will therefore be to become a ‘privileged table of consultation’ through a public relation activity and joint project development with the Hungarian counterparts (like, for example, the Confederation of Hungarian Employers and Industrialists, the Ministry of Industry or the Business Association of Hungarian CEOs) and link those Hungarian entrepreneurs to the best Italian joint venture counterparts.
Developing a business in Debrecen
Continuing a 140-year-old family tradition in forging, the Massucco family has a business based in the eastern Hungarian city of Debrecen. Dr. Roberto Massucco was called by his cousin, owner of the company, to join back in 2007 and was asked to oversee the Hungarian operations. He added new areas (machining and heat-treatment) to the business and also moved to Debrecen since.
He points out that “this city is actually not growing, it has literally been exploding in the last 6-7 years. Our company has also followed this trend since our business has also gone through an explosive development. For instance, in the forging area, we are using robots to move the parts. Bigger developments have taken place in the turning departments. Robots have also been installed in other departments to help employees do their job. Our company believed so much in the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), that we invested and bought a company that refurbishes robots, specifically adapting them to our sector of activity.” He also hopes that the new BMW plant that will be built in Debrecen will bring more Italian investments in that area.
“I have a dream”
The Unindustria President is of the view that with the COVID-19 pandemic disappearing slowly, the overall outlook of Italian-Hungarian business relations in the near future is positive. “I believe that Hungary will attract more and more foreign investments. The stagflation will hit harder the ‘old’ member states of the EU. Poland and Hungary will be the countries that will best handle the results of the pandemic and of the war and probably more Italian Companies will then seek opportunities in these countries trying to balance the risks they are running in Italy.
He promises that Unindustria Ungheria, which he hopes will be soon entitled to change its name to Confindustria Ungheria, will be there to support these companies.
“As I said before, we promote a ‘Sistema Italia’. Personally, I believe that the highest achievement can be reached only with an intensive team work and we are ready to face this challenge.”
Dr. Roberto Massucco concludes by saying that he has dream: “to become so attractive that Hungarian companies will also decide to join our Association. According to the deed of foundation, this is possible. That, I believe, should be our final goal. By reaching that, we will be able to be noted as a powerful ‘influencer’ – to use a fashionable social term.”
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