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POLAND Market Overview


Today there are five principal Polish boatbuilders, all of which have at one time or another contract-built for Jeanneau, or Marine Power Europe, or both and four of the five still do. Most of the building activity is small-boat oriented. Little gets built above 10m (33ft) and the majority of activity is below 7m (23ft).

Slepsk is probably the biggest builder at the moment. It builds for Brunswick's Marine Power Europe and for the US giant's Sea Ray subsidiary. Originally an independent working with both Marine Power Europe and Jeanneau, Ostroda Yachts has been 100 per cent owned by Jeanneau since January 2002, so it is now dedicated to Groupe Bénéteau's production requirements. Delphia Yachts, which up until August this year was known as Sportlake, builds motorboats for Marine Power Europe and sailboats for Alliaura Marine in France, as well as motorboats and sailboats under its own and other brands. Then there is Balt-Yacht, which builds for Marine Power Europe and itself. Galeon also used to build for both the big players, but last year decide to go it alone with its own brands.

Other internationally significant boatbuilding concerns in the country include Germany's Hanse Yachts, which has a moulding operation near Szczecin to the far northwest, and Skipper Yachts that builds Pegaz and Skippi sailboats for local and export markets.

High-performance dinghy and sailboat builder Luca Devotti recently moved his production to the country from the UK. Amongst other things his company now builds Finns and the Melges 24.

Sailing on the thousands of Polish lakes was popular even during Communist years, with many sailing clubs linked to state-owned factories. The reason for the prominence of sail over power was down to the availability and cost of reliable marine engines. But now Poland has a rising entrepreneurial class with Western European aspirations we can surely expect leisure boating to gather pace in the power sector.

For instance, Poland now has some 100 charter operations, 80 per cent of which are involved with chartering boats within the country, while only 20 per cent are concerned with charter activity beyond its borders. A decade ago there were no such companies. The biggest charter operator is Tiga Yacht, which has over 120 boats between 7m-9m (23ft-30ft) in its Polish fleet.

Domestic marine leisure activity exists, particularly for sailing on the lakes. Business for a handful of Polish boatbuilders is excellent. Most of them contract build for the likes of Marine Power Europe and Group Bénéteau. A few small sailboats and motorboats are built for the local market, but the export percentages tend to be well over 90 per cent. With all this OEM activity there is good business and hence opportunities for materials and equipment suppliers exporting to the country. As for imported boats, the market is currently tiny with only a handful of boats coming in each year as consumer-spending power in the country is way behind the rest of Europe and marina places and cruising destinations are few and far between on the coast.

Most of those canvassed by IBI expect EU membership to be have a negative impact in the long run, but that it will be a relatively slow change.

To read Key Market Facts on Poland Click here

Summarised from the Poland Business Report in IBI's August/September 2003 issue. The full report can be purchased from International Boat Industry - Back Issues Department, PO Box 772, Peterborough PE2 6WJ, UK Tel: +44 (0) 1733 385 170. Fax: +44 (0) 1733 239 356 mailto:backissues@johndentonservices.com Copies are £15 each plus postage (£1 UK; £2 airmail Europe; £4 airmail elsewhere)




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