Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said a new plant by soft drink maker Hell Energy planned in Azerbaijan with the cooperation of a local investment fund will create a new economic link between East and West.
Minister Szijjártó said in Baku that the foundations of “another joint success story” between the two countries had been laid by the Hell Energy Group signing an agreement with the Azerbaijan Investment Company to set up a production unit representing a value of 211 million dollars. The plant to be opened in 2025 will produce 700-800 million aluminium cans annually and around half of them will be filled by local and regional drinks, the statement said. Additionally, the company which is the market leader in Hungary and several other countries will use the plant to serve its own local and regional markets, it added. Demand for Hell Energy products has been increasing, with around 50% growth in turnover last year, around two-thirds of which resulted from international markets, Minister Szijjártó said. The company is in 12th place in the global ranking of soft drinks exports after a 5.5-fold increase in ten years, he added. He also said that over the past three years, the global economy turned upside down twice and a new era had started which forced all the participants to rewrite their plans.
The coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine have upset supply chains and damaged well-functioning economic cooperation, cutting many ties between East and West, he added. The developments affected everyone but especially such open economies as Hungary’s where the rate of exports to GDP is usually above 80%. Despite this, Hungary’s economy performed well and set a “brutal record” in exports last year with 142 billion euros, putting Hungary in 34th place in a global list despite its population being at 95th place, he said. “The continual increase in exports performance is absolutely a national economic interest, which is critically important for maintaining economic growth,” he said. It has become clear in the recent period that increasing export volumes is only viable in certain sectors if production is taken closer to the target markets, he said. The government supports the foreign investment of competitive Hungarian companies because these result in further increases in exports and turnover, with part of the profits consequently used in Hungary, he said. “Such joint projects demonstrate well that rational cooperation based on mutual trust between Eastern and Western companies benefits all participants,” he added.