A large market area unfolds through Pyroll’s Hungarian window

When the Ypap group became part of Pyroll at the beginning of 2011, a new important window opened for Pyroll in Central Europe. Ypap’s Oy Ikapaper Ab Ltd. had established a subsidiary called Ikapapir Kft in Hungary near Budapest, and now this subsidiary also became part of Pyroll. Nowadays known as Pyroll Kft, this sheeting plant and flexographic printing house is an interesting addition in the internationalising Pyroll family.

Where there’s a customer, there’s a sheeting plant

Denes I. Topa

For years, the Ikaalinen-based paper refinery, Ikapaper, had done business with Stora-Enso Packaging Kft operating in Hungary. Because this customer needed a partner that offers sheeting services close by, Ikapaper made a bold decision and invested in Hungary. They found the ideal location in an industrial park 17 km from Budapest, between the small towns of Szigetszentmiklós and Szigethalom. This place, which had previously been a motor assembly plant, was renewed to better meet the needs of the sheeting plant, and the operations began in 2010. They selected Jagenberg as their sheet cutter, which is suitable for sheeting the most common paperboards (based on their mass per unit area).

In September 2010, Denes I. Topa accepted the position of the Sales and Production Manager at the unit in Hungary. He is an engineer specialising in printing technology, who previously worked as a technical expert at printing houses. In this role, he had also accumulated some experience as a paper refinery client. Nowadays he has six Hungarian employees and numerous parallel roles at Pyroll Kft: taking care of the current customers and acquiring new customers, as well as working as a technical expert, supervisor, trainer, and business developer. He also communicates with various officials, which is not a small feat in a bureaucratic country like Hungary.

Flexo-printed paperboard also under the same roof

Collaboration with customers started out smoothly, and the operations were soon expanded to flexographic printing because of a key customer’s wishes. At the same time, they expended the production facilities and acquired a 1–4-colour flexographic printing machine. Nowadays they provide flexo-printed paperboard for the packaging industry, mainly for packaging electronics.

According to Topa, these two strong services provide excellent possibilities to develop the plant’s operations further – both by providing even better and more versatile services for the current clientele and by expanding the clientele. Because the unit is committed to serving especially its sheeting customers with minimised delivery times, the production and logistics chain must work like a clock. The sheeting plant works in two shifts, and the goal is to accomplish this also with flexographic printing. Denes I. Topa’s future wish list contains a sheet cutter also suitable for thin paper, which would serve a completely new clientele. However, even now paper can be sheeted at Pyroll’s sheeting plant in Stryków, Poland, with which the Hungarian unit collaborates. This sheeting plant has also a lot of experience working with the Hungarian unit’s most important customer, StoraEnso Packaging Kft.'

The motorway network is a logistical advantage

Budapest is a city of 1.8 million people. Constantly increasing traffic ensures that cars can spend 90 minutes travelling a distance of 20 kilometres during the rush hour. Budapest’s ring road, the M0 motorway, is located close to Pyroll Kft’s plant. At the moment, the capacity of this motorway is being increased. Furthermore, a direct road connection from Szigethalom to the capital is being built. The M0 motorway connects other motorways in the west, east, and south. Therefore, the deliveries to different parts of Hungary and even further travel on rubber wheels within very tight schedules.

On a paper safari in Finland

Denes I. Topa became acquainted with Finland and our forest industry on a paper safari arranged by FinPro and various paper mills in the spring of 2011. During this trip, he visited several paper mills and their partners. He also visited Pyroll’s sheeting plant in Kyröskoski and Ikapaperi’s plant in Ikaalinen. These places made a great impression on him, and he plans on visiting Finland this year, too. He would also like to meet his colleagues in Stryków face to face.

When asked the question on how the employees at the Hungarian plant feel about being part of Pyroll, Topa answers that it is all about being part of a larger family that provides more resources in all aspects; in terms of experience, support, and more extensive collaboration possibilities. The employees were well informed about the acquisition and its background, as well as Pyroll in general. Moreover, the new name and the uniform graphic identity enhance their Pyroll identity.

The euro crisis drags down Hungary’s economy

Hungary joined the EU in 2004. The country has kept its own currency, the forint, but this has not saved it from a financial crisis. A few years ago, the economy became so bad that the forint was on the brink of catastrophe. The situation improved a bit as a result of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s extreme savings regimen. However, at the end of last year, the Hungarian Government had to ask help from the IMF and the EU, because the exchange rate collapsed and the government loan costs keep increasing. Furthermore, the downgrading of the country’s credit rating increases distress. Even though the new EU countries in Central Europe have not adopted the euro, they have been caught in the same maelstrom as the euro countries – as their debts increase but the economy shows no signs of improvement. In last autumn, the national debt of Hungary increased to 82 per cent of the GDP.

Denes I. Topa admits that the financial challenges are also tough for companies. He thinks that the current economic crisis is a bit easier than the previous one but at the same time also longer. The unemployment rate is already c. 11%, and unfortunately still on the increase. The economic forecast for 2012 was downgraded from 1.5 per cent to 0.5 per cent. Despite these challenges, he believes that people of Pyroll Kft will continue to exceed expectations and bring added value to the new owner.

Hungary is both familiar and unknown to Finns

Finns like Hungarians. Hungarians like Finns. The countries share a kinship, which is in part explained by the fact that the languages are distantly related to each other and are unlike the other languages. For this reason, many Finns have travelled in Hungary, some in the urban atmosphere of Budapest, the others on horseback on the wide open Pannonian steppes.

The official history of Hungary started in the year 1000 when Saint Stephen was crowned as the country’s first king. He converted the people to Christianity, and the cathedral that bears his name is one of the most famous landmarks of Budapest.

At the end of the 17th century, Hungary became part of the Habsburg Monarchy. The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was born in 1867, during which Hungary had its own legislation, government, and parliament, but common military and joint foreign and financial policy with Austria.

In the constitutional sense, Hungary became independent after World War I when the dual monarchy was broken up. At the same time, it also attained its current borders.

After World War II, Hungary fell under the Soviet Union’s sphere of influence and became a socialist country.

The people rose against their oppressors in October 1956, but the Soviet tanks brutally ended the revolution, while the world could do nothing but watch. Finally, they acquired their freedom on the commemoration day of the revolution, October 23, 1989, when the country declared itself an independent and democratic republic by changing their constitution.

As a member of the EU, the 10 million people Hungary has permanently been integrated with the market economy countries. Hungary joined the Schengen area in 2007, and held the EU presidency during the first half of 2011. Pécs located in Southern Hungary was the European Capital of Culture in 2010.

Hungary is full of historical sites and ancient culture, while at the same time the life in the metropolis of Budapest is fast-paced and trendy. The Danube river splits the city in two: the hills of Buda and the business centre Pest. The Danube flows 417 km within Hungary. The largest lake in Central Europe, over 72 km long Lake Balaton, is also located in Hungary.

More than two thirds of the country’s economy relies on export. Germany is the most important export destination country. The main export products are electrical appliances, electronics, machinery, groceries, and chemicals. Hungarian wines are also well-known in Finland, especially the wines from the Tokaji region and the red wine Egri Bikaver.

Hungarian food is spicy and very meat-oriented. The most important spice is paprika. Pörkölt is a pork or beef fry, and goulash is a meat soup spiced with a hefty dose of paprika, although we often think of it as a meat stew.

Music is in the blood of Hungarian people, and it is as fiery as their spices. The great Hungarian composers include, e.g. Liszt, Bartók, and Kodály.

Other significant Hungarian people include Albert Szent-Györgyi who discovered the vitamin C, the Nobel Prize-winning author Imre Kertész, and the Academy Award-winning director István Szabó.