When he set up the company with the Swiss dr Albert Wander, Mr Sándor Balla had big plans. Surely, back in 1913, only few people would have predicted to see some of the characteristic buildings of the factory – still standing on the Keresztúri street 110 years later. What is more, over the years, the production area in Kőbánya has been expanded to twice of its original size: it has been modernized, state-of-the art factory floors, and other facilities have been built.
By the beginning of WWII, the company had achieved some fine results: besides manufacturing nutriments, development and production of medicinal products made up a considerable proportion of its activities. At the beginning of 1945, soon as the siege of Budapest was over, production resumed – in smaller volume though – as nutriments and medicines were in huge demand in the war-torn country.
In 1948, the company became a state-owned business. In 1950, it was merged with a few smaller pharmaceutical companies and continued its operations as United Pharmaceuticals and Nutriments Production (National) Company till 1984. In the sixties, it was one of the leading companies of the Hungarian pharmaceutical industry. The company – meanwhile, having changed its name to Egis – has maintained this position ever since, thanks to the innovative and pioneering professionals who worked and has been working here: the countless innovations and patents filed over the decades and the extensive list of market leader products verify their efforts. It is an interesting cultural fact that some of these knowledgeable researchers, economic and technical professionals had István Örkény, one of the most significant Hungarian writers, as their colleague. Holding a degree in pharmacy and chemistry, he worked in the medical information department between 1958-1963.
Egis came through the transition period of the regime change and privatisation successfully. The shares of the company – operating at three sites in Budapest and one in Körmend (near the Austrian border) – were introduced to the Hungarian stock market in 1994. A year later, in 1995, the French pharmaceutical company, Servier bought 51% of Egis’ shares; it went on to gain 100% ownership in 2013.
Today, Egis is one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Central and Eastern Europe, its products are available in sixty-two countries.
We plan to celebrate our company’s 110th anniversary with a series of events throughout the year. Besides organizing in-house programs, we also wish to engage a broader public and share our heritage and show the power of the Egis community.
One of such events approaches in April, it is linked to another special occasion – we commemorate the 111th anniversary of István Örkény's birth on 5 April.