Firms eager for S'pore investment

PHOTO: Firms eager for S'pore investment

It was standing room only in the Szechenyi Room in Budapest's Four Seasons Gresham Palace on Wednesday, when more than 100 businessmen turned up to hear about doing business with Singapore.

The strong turnout at the Singapore-Hungary Business Forum is indicative of the interest which Hungarian firms have in the island state - not least as a source of investment, said Singapore Business Federation (SBF) chief executive Ho Meng Kit.

"Europe has gone through a fairly long recession. So there is spare capacity, and they are looking at us to pick up some of these investments," added Mr Ho, part of a business group accompanying President Tony Tan Keng Yam on his state visit.

Singapore's foreign direct investment in Hungary was 14.3 billion forints (S$80 million) last year.

One firm hopeful of breaking into the Asian market is Thermowatt Energy and Building, which uses the heat from waste water to power heating or cooling systems in buildings. Project manager Dora Furesz said she was looking for investors or partners to work on projects abroad.

The non-governmental Hungarian Foreign Trade Association is planning a trip in March next year to showcase some of its member companies as well. Said association president Miklos Horvath: "Singapore is a regional hot spot. So we can go, really, from Singapore to everywhere else."

But the traffic is not all one-way.

One Singapore firm that wants to break into Europe is Leung Kai Fook Medical, which makes the Axe brand of medicated oil. "We've always wanted to teach Europeans how to use Axe oil," said business development manager Jimmy Leong, who is part of the SBF delegation here.

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