Miklós Bakos, Chief Executive Officer
The predecessor of Hunép Zrt. started its activity in 1951 as Tanácsi Építőipari Vállalat (Municipal Construction Company), which by the 1960s had become one of the most important contractors for public institutions and housing projects in Hajdú-Bihar County. By the early 1980s, the company employed nearly 1,200 people, providing the company with an outstanding construction knowledge base and experience in the region. The state-owned company was transformed into a commercial company in 1991, and since then it has operated as a 100% Hungarian-owned joint stock company.
By default, the company is a general construction contractor, i.e. it submits tenders for clients’ documentation with bids, then concludes contracts at the end of successful negotiation processes and implements these contracts. Hunép is often also a general contractor, which means that the company is also responsible for the design. In such cases, the client specifies the basic requirements, the main parameters and the available budget and Hunép is responsible for ensuring that the plans are implemented and the work is completed on time and within budget. The company is also involved in other projects and undertakes subcontracts of sufficient size to be able to carry them out economically. The company’s references now include almost all types of buildings, including healthcare, education, industrial facilities, spas and many other examples. The company is a leader among construction companies in the region. The company employs over 100 economic and business experts and engineers as full-time employees. Physical labour on construction sites is provided by their long-established subcontractors.
The past 30 years have been full of defining moments, recalls Miklós Bakos, CEO. “If we break down these three decades into 4-5 year phases, each phase had a flagship project that drove the company’s development. All the while, we have always been very careful to keep innovating and building the company year after year”. While working in the company, the owners were careful not to put the successes of a given period too much at risk, but always to think in the long term. “We have planned ahead from the start, with a 10-year strategy. We always try to adapt this plan to the challenges of our external environment. What we updated 1-2 years ago has been com- pletely overwritten by the current economic and construction situation, and the 10-year strategy will have to be rethought and revised very soon. That’s one of the keys to staying on your feet.”
The office building, shopping centre and residential building built in the early 2000s as part of Hunép’s own investment could be considered a milestone. Later, the Nagyerdei Stadium in Debrecen, which is still one of the company’s pride and joys, both because of the value of the project and its uniqueness, and because it has become one of the city’s iconic buildings. Every period had one such outstanding assignment, which has always given a new momentum for the years to come and made the company’s leaders proud. “There is also a healthy development, a building process, which shows that, as the number of references and turnover of the company has increased, the projects have become more significant in terms of size, nature and economic value.”
As a company that has been operating for several decades, a smooth intergenerational succession is also a priority for Hunép. The company has had a new CEO and Production Director since January 2019. The decision, taken earlier in a closed meeting, was officially announced a year before the new set-up. As well as ensuring the changeover, the aim was to ensure that the customers who ordered the projects carried forward were not taken by surprise by the arrival of the new leader. According to Miklós Bakos, this was also a way of communicating predictability to their customers, suppliers and banks, and this was also expressed in the press both in Debrecen and nationwide. Direct preparation for this period started the year before, which meant that the previous and the new management together reviewed the operations of the company, meeting every month or two to discuss the experiences of the past 20-25 years.
These preparations greatly helped the transition to an era marked by a new leader. As a result of deliberate and long- term preparation, the changeover was timed to take place at a time of economic buoyancy. And all this could happen at a time when the managers in the company were not forced to leave their everyday work, but were handing over the baton to the new staff with pre-conceived choreography.
The company also places a high priority on HR, where employees are the most important asset. “Our company has always thought long term; we have stood by our employees, we’ve kept them, we haven’t cut staff in years when sales, profits or tasks were smaller”, said the CEO.
As far as future plans are concerned, Hunép has plans for further growth, which is largely determined by Debrecen’s location and economic situation. “Debrecen’s plan for 2020-30 includes very impressive and large-scale developments, and the city is undergoing extraordinary development as the second capital of the country. This is the main driver of our development in the future”, he added.
Until 5-10 years ago, Hunép typically sourced its work from the public procurement market, but 5 years ago it opened up significantly to the private sector. This is in line with the fact that these opportunities will typically be in private developments. Future goals also include significant IT improvements, efficiency gains and solid revenue and profit growth