Tungsram, a name synonymous with electric lighting in many European countries, is one of Hungary's largest, oldest, and internationally most prestigious firms, known for light bulbs and electronics.
The company was originally established in 1896 in Újpest (now Budapest) in the year of Hungary’s Millennium celebration. Budapest was then the second most dynamically growing city after Chicago. “At the time of its founding, Tungsram, along with Budapest, successfully embraced the opportunities of its time and rapidly grew to a global technology leader”.
General Electric (GE) acquired Tungsram in 1989. When the American conglomerate launched a large-scale restructuring and decided to sell its lighting business in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Turkey in 2016, Joerg Bauer, the former president of GE Hungary stepped forward to buy the Hungarian light source business from GE. This was realised in April 2018 and Tungsram officially returned to the market as a standalone brand with a Hungarian decision-making centre.
The transaction included all five of GE’s Hungarian factories with a total of 4,000 employees and was financed with short and long-term credit from state-owned export-import Eximbank.
“We plan to invest in all our active locations and develop distinct technological capabilities for the factories, all while strengthening customer-facing distribution partners. The whole organisation will be refocused to support our customers and partners, following the principle of ’what more can we do for your success,’ with the flexibility and the agility of a startup company,” Bauer -a German national with more than 20 years of multinational company experience who is President & CEO of Tungsram said.
”Innovation is our heritage” – is the core belief of the new management of Tungsram, continuing and reinvigorating a 122 year old proud tradition of Hungarian creativity. The company will invest into future-safe technologies and dynamically growing markets, while still strengthening the Lighting core of its business.
Tungsram exports more than 95% of its production and will leverage sales into more than 100 international markets. It has five factories in Hungary(Budapest, Hajdúböszörmény, Kisvárda, Nagykanizsa, Zalaegerszeg) and a network of 500 local suppliers and partners. The company produces a yearly turnover of around HUF 84 billion (USD 300 million) and is listed on the Budapest Stock Exchange.
On the world market, Tungsram continues to be represented as a premium European brand with design, development and manufacturing in Europe, and a commitment to continue and expand its outreach.
Tungsram's history at a glance
1862 Béla and Bernát Egger found the predecessor of Tungsram in Vienna
1896 Bernát Egger and the Pest Hungarian Commercial Bank form Egyesült Izzólámpa és Villamossági Rt. (United Electric Incandescent Light Factory Co.)
1901 Building the Újpest (now Budapest) factory
1904 Sándor Just and Franjo Haneman invent the tungsten filament light bulb that becomes the main product of the company
1921 Lipót Aschner becomes the CEO; he had come up with the name Tungsram; had founded factories and the world-famous research lab; makes the brand a world market factor
1923 A world famous research team is set up, including e.g. Pál Selényi, the ’father of xerography” and the inventor of light measurement at photography
1934 Imre Bródy, a researcher at Tungsram invents the krypton light bulb
1937 Tungsram opens a television laboratory
1946 Zoltán Bay, the technology officer of the company founds radar astronomy by a world famous experiment
1989 GE purchases the majority of Tungsram shares, later 100%.
1998 The first international shared services center in Hungary is established at the GE/Tungsram EMEA HQ in Budapest
2018 Tungsram Group is founded