High-tech and mass production: we have given stimulus to the Hungarian health industry

As a new wave of the pandemic approaches, the EU-FIRE Group’s world-class medical equipment plant has been launched. Our factory in Mátészalka immediately and effectively reduces Hungary’s vulnerability, as so far Hungary has purchased 80 percent of its healthcare products from abroad.

The investment of the EU-FIRE Group plant is exemplary, because not only the handover ceremony is world-class, but also the production – Mihály Varga praised the factory, that started last Thursday, with a gentle joke. The Minister of Finance was referring to the laser show of the inauguration ceremony, in which a laser girl sang “Mátészalka throbbing in me, my homeland, my homeland” – and all people from Mátészalka, even if they have left their city, will return home. It seems that this is more than just a marketing word, the founder and owner of the EU-FIRE Group, Imre Kovács and Péter Kovács, also came from here, and brought back here the factory that makes Hungary 50-60 percent self-sufficient in the medical supplies, produced at the plant. (Among others, 200 million nitrile examination and protective gloves, 350 million needles, and hundreds of thousands of scalpels, surgical scissors, and various amputation devices come off the production lines every year.)

In addition, the handover is not only a celebration of homecoming, but also the fact that, according to Mihály Varga, people think the same about industry as the government believes. In recent decades, the finance minister explained, an idea of deindustrialization has gained a foothold in Western Europe. The essence of this is that Europe does not need its own industry, which it can, it must be outsourced to remote parts of the world and the finished product must be brought back. Mihály Varga made it clear that this idea is not dear to the heart of the Hungarian government, and the cabinet believes that every country should have an industrial strategy, one that strengthens its independence. In this spirit, it is particularly important to make as many innovative, exemplary domestic investments as possible.

According to the Minister of Finance, the EU-FIRE plant is undoubtedly like this, as its products not only stand their ground in Hungary, but are also suitable for export. However, this investment would not have been possible if the government had not launched the Health Industry Support Program, which created a total of 5700 jobs and allowed for 87 billion HUF of development out of HUF 66 billion in subsidies. The EU-FIRE plant in Mátészalka was realized out of about 8 billion HUF, and a significant part of it was financed by the government.

Of course, the success of the investment also required the mayor and member of parliament of Mátészalka.

“In Mátészalka, the city of light, as we call it, the handover of such a plant is a very big step,” said Péter Hanusi. The mayor of Mátészalka looked back a little at the inauguration ceremony and recalled how far they had started. A 15-acre area was carved out for the city’s industrial park, improved with the help of the government, connected to the road network, and then an incubator house followed. Today, Mátészalka is where, only 1 of the 15 hectares is free and a 60-hectare industrial park development is underway. And companies are just coming and coming. One of the reasons why the mayor “talked from home” is because the people of Mátészalka bring them home: such is Péter Kovács, thanks to whom Mátészalka is no longer only a city of light, but also of health.

“They are doing everything possible to make the development of the industrial park as successful as possible,” Sándor Kovács recalled the mayor’s speech. Incidentally, Mihály Varga, thanked the member of parliament for the constituency for doing his job and lobbied extremely persistently for the EU-FIRE investment. And as Sándor Kovács revealed at the handover ceremony, when he talked to the minister about the need for a fourth wave of development in the industrial park, Mihály Varga gave an answer that he cannot say, but is very gratifying.

The road to this point was not easy: the plans were shattered by the epidemic, there were technical difficulties, yet: the factory is standing – Péter Kovács drew a positive balance. The owner of the EU-FIRE Group believes that the plant in Mátészalka will be a key player in the domestic healthcare industry and, if it reaches its peak, could generate sales of about 5 billion euros. Peter Kovacs did not deny that the road would continue to be long and difficult – but he promised that it would eventually lead to further success.

His words are authenticated by two movements. One of them is that in Mátészalka, the second health investment of the EU-FIRE Group has been completed. An efficient, smaller factory is already operating in Kocsord and brings the expectations. The other is that for the EU-FIRE Group, the plant in Mátészalka like the Kocsord factory is more than just a business: it is also a symbol of social responsibility. The group’s credo was borrowed from Gábor Bethlen, Prince of Transylvania, according to which: “It is not always possible to do what you have to do, but you always must do what you can.” Well, in Mátészalka, EU-FIRE has not only done what it could, but also what needs to be done. This is because the plant producing vital equipment that has just been handed over exceeds the ETP tender at its own expense. Thus, it becomes possible to:

  • pre-filled, “ready to vaccinate” syringes roll off production lines – a capability that is literally vital in the event of an epidemic;
  • with its capacities, the plant will help other actors in the ETP, for example when it comes to sterilization;
  • If an order is received from a medical institution, a truck loaded with the requested product can start a day and a half later.

But these abilities, if you will, are just the beginnings.

– I consider it the most important thing that Hungary’s health industry is gradually getting on its own feet: thanks to our plant in Mátészalka, it is becoming self-sufficient in half to two-thirds of our country from the products manufactured here. However, the last two pandemic-hit years around the world have taught us that if there is a lack of basic tools, health care will be paralyzed. The EU-FIRE Group, with its own knowledge and tools, is doing everything possible to ensure that Hungary does not drift into such a difficult situation – József Kerékgyártó, managing director of EU-FIRE Ltd., summed up why the factory’s handover is of utmost importance.