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FROM RUSSIA TO CHINA: THE ITALIAN GGP GROUP LOOKS AFTER THE GARDENS OF THE WORLD
Since 2008, the lawns of St Petersburg have been kept neat by machines made by Global Garden Products, Italy's leading company in the gardening solutions sector. Indeed, in July 2007, the company based in Castelfranco Veneto (Treviso) sealed a commercial deal to the value of 2.5 million euros for the distribution of their products in the ex-Soviet Union, forging an agreement with the Russian company, Aquarius. The deal became a reality in 2008, when 45 multi-function Ggp machines (lawn-mowers, high-pressure water jet machines, as well as snow-ploughs and earth-movers) were delivered to the administration in St Petersburg.
But this is just one of the success stories of the Italian group. They also, metaphorically, won a medal at the recent Beijing Olympics for the supply of 50 Stiga tractors with front-mounted grass-cutters (model "Stiga Park 100"), which were used to maintain the turf during the Olympic event. This Chinese order, to the value of about 200 million euros, was the first contract in a market in which Ggp has been active for a while. In fact production is underway in China, under the guidance and to the specifications of Ggp's research and development centre, of innovative anti-pollutant, low-consumption petrol motors mounted on machines produced in Ggp's factories.
Apart from China, Ggp has four plants in Europe: in Italy, Sweden and Slovakia, employing 1,800 workers. For the financial year 2006-2007, at the time of closing its books on August 31st, the company registered sales of 547 million euros, equivalent to the manufacture of 1.5 million mowing machines. Ggp is the leading European company in the manufacture and sale of mowers and garden machinery, dominating the market with its brands, "Stig", "Mountfield", "Castelgarden", "Alpina" and "Belos". The group also manufactures for third parties and for the main European chain stores specializing in DIY and gardening merchandise.
Ggp's product range is divided into four sections: ride-on tractors, tractors with front-mounted mowers, petrol-driven or electric grass-cutters and chain-saws. The company's distribution chains ensure extremely focused marketing: Ggp products are sold by big distributors and through specialized dealers. The company operates in more than 80 markets worldwide, the most important of which are Great Britain, Germany, France and the northern European countries. According to the figures for 2006-2007 the export quota on earnings reached a level of 85-90%. Results for August 31st 2008 have still to be confirmed. Italian sales, therefore, only contribute to a small part of the company's earnings: distribution on the domestic market is undertaken by the "Alpina Italia" company, which is totally controlled by the Ggp group.
The company's potential for growth is enhanced by its position as market leader. The value of the market in which Ggp operates, that of garden-care machinery, is estimated to be worth 2.2 billion euros in Europe alone. Ggp can claim a considerable share of this, the equivalent of 21%, rising to 40% in the sector of ride-on and front-mower tractors, a niche market showing solid demand and steady growth.