Farm Ireland

Sunday 25 February 2018

Brothers expecting boost to fortunes for successful family run firm

Bruce Lett

Austrian firm Pottinger recently held an open day at their factory in Grieskirchen, Austria. Hundreds attended this relaxed event where the firm displayed their wares on-site at the factory and in-field. A large contingent from Ireland travelled to the event as guests of Irish importers T Traynor and Sons Ltd.

Established in 1871, Pottinger is still a family owned and run business.

Since 1991, brothers Klaus and Heinz Pottinger have been managing directors at the firm, which has nearly 1,200 employees and a turnover of €182m.

Addressing the crowd at the Pottinger International Day, the brothers were very upbeat about the current state of agriculture and the effects it was having on the growth of the Pottinger machinery business after a couple of bad years.

Klaus Pottinger said: "Pottinger has always been convinced of the importance of agriculture. Food and energy will always be in demand -- after all, the increasing world population needs to be nourished sufficiently in future and energy supplies need to be ensured.

"Consequently, there remains huge potential for agriculture and for Pottinger."

According to his brother Heinz: "The Pottinger company grew 17pc a year every year from 2001 to 2008."

Then came the downturn. "We are flexible enough in Pottinger to adapt and withstand the changes," added Heinz, quoting the motto, 'We will grow again'.

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"After two years of sales drops, the first half of this year has been hugely encouraging, with a significant upswing in business," added Klaus. "Even in the last month, agricultural markets have been very lively."

This year, growth has been strongest in Poland, Italy, Russia, Norway and Estonia, according to the duo. At the moment, Pottinger's biggest single markets are Germany, with 22pc of turnover, Austria, with 20pc of turnover, and France, with 11pc of turnover.

"Germany is a really demanding market," said Klaus. "We are not German so we really have to fight our corner there.

"It is also important to find strong sales partners. To strengthen our position in Russia, we have opened a new subsidiary and we expect the CIS share will grow strong.

"We expect the market (for Pottinger) to double in Russia from the current 2pc to 4pc."

At home in Austria, the firm states that there is a strong domestic demand for quality Pottinger products. This helped to cushion the blow during the recession in Austria, resulting in a downturn of just 14pc.

Pottinger claims to be the global leader in loader wagon sales and the company has now taken the lead in seed drills on the Austrian market, with a growth of 23pc.

Irish Independent