Poland Warms to DENNIS
By Sue Meeken
Not even temperatures of minus 25°C could deter visitors flocking to the Dennis stand at the BUDMA International Construction Fair in Posnan, Poland, held at the end of January.
Visitors came from as far as Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, resulting in many hot sales leads for the British manufacturer of professional mowing machinery.
The event took place at the famous Posnan International Trade Fair ground, and included a dedicated exhibition Sports Construction Centre for stadium construction and maintenance products.
Dennis supported its Polish distributor, Zielona Architektura, a sports ground construction and landscaping business that has sold Dennis machinery since 2002. Founded in 1993 by Marek Wypychowski, the multi-million pound business now employs more than 50 people.
Zielona has constructed several major pitches throughout Poland, including surfaces for top soccer teams such as Amica in Wronki, Polonia in Warsaw, Korona in Kieke and Pogon in Szezecin. Many of Poland's major clubs use Dennis mowers supplied by the company, including Wista in Krakow, who were the country's Premier League Champions in 2005, and Legia of Warsaw, who came second in the same top league.
"Poland is a keen footballing nation," says Ian Howard, Managing Director of Dennis, who helped man the stand, "Sports turf construction and maintenance has become a major industry during the last decade and the pace of development is set to continue."
Not surprisingly, pitch quality is a prime consideration, as Marek Wypychowski points out. "The Polish nation appreciates quality products and Dennis machinery is ideal. Television coverage means that presentation is extremely important, and Dennis equipment is helping our groundsmen achieve this."
Zielona are spreading the message of quality pitches and precision equipment in other parts of Europe. Last year the company built three training pitches for the mighty Benfica in Lisbon. It has links with several other specialist partners, including Fibresand, Koro, Springs Undersoil Heating, Queens Grass (Holland) and Drop Service Irrigation.
The pro-active Polish business is also establishing a sports turf nursery covering some 50 hectares (125 acres) in the heart of its home country.
Dennis themselves are also expanding into other overseas markets. They are currently discussing a joint venture in Moscow, as Russia shows greater interest in quality sports turf.
Ian Howard reports that 2005 saw continued growth, building on the mowing machinery manufacturer's remarkable record of increasing annual turnover by an average of 24% in recent years. "What is particularly pleasing is the number of repeat orders we receive: turf professionals recognise the quality of the equipment, and 2006 sees us with a bigger order book than ever before!"