Liugong’s Polish priorities
By Chris Sleight15 October 2013
It was way back in March 2011 that Liugong announced plans to acquire Polish state-owned dozer manufacturer Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW) and its distribution subsidiary Dressta, but it took until January of the following year for the deal to be signed. Part of the rationale for Liugong was to give it a manufacturing footprint in Europe, as well as adding dozers to its portfolio.
But it is also increasingly looking like a good move for Dressta, with the company’s long-standing Polish management team talking bullishly about the opportunities that are already springing from being part of a full-line manufacturer with a growing global network.
As Dressta general director Leszek Holysz put it, “We are looking for dealers all over the world and Liugong can help us with that. We are not present in Latin America apart from Panama, but Liugong has dealers there and that is an opportunity for us.”
Dressta can trace its origins as far back as 1902, and manufacturing by HSW began in 1937. Partnerships and alliances have come and gone over the years but there is no denying the company’s long history in the dozer segment.
In fact, it is this heritage that Liugong sees as a key part of what it acquired. “Dressta was a very famous brand and our history goes all the way back to the first dozers. In the intervening years people have forgotten who Dressta is, so we need to get our machines and heritage known again,” said Liugong Poland chairman, David Beatenbough.
He added, “I truly believe the quality of what we build here is second to none. They are stable designs and they prove themselves in very harsh applications all over the world. We have machines with 10,000s of hours all in very difficult mining applications.”
On the practical level, the acquisition has added dozers to Liugong’s portfolio, filling a gap in its product offering. The line-up of nine models runs from the 74 hp (55 kW) TD-7R to the 515 hp (384 kW) TD40E Extra, which more or less corresponds to Caterpillar’s D10 model. In addition, the company makes pipe layers, backhoe loaders and a few models of wheeled loaders.
Liugong’s primary aim is to be able to sell the dozers in particular worldwide, and the current stage in this project is a collaborative effort, according to Mr Beatenbough.
“We’re working on a new generation of dozers. That involves a team of 12 engineers from China and 12 engineers from Poland. They are working together in pairs – one from China and one from Poland – and that is working very well,” he said.
But of course another big factor in the acquisition was to give Liugong a factory in Europe where it could produce machines for the regional market – a project that has been underway for some time.
Mr Beatenbough said, “One of the reasons we invested here in Poland was to give us a European base. To be profitable in the long term we need the factories to be running at full capacity and we’re going to balance production of Liugong and Dressta machines to do that.
“Another important reason is to build machines closer to customers and improve things like parts availability.”
And Liugong is ambitious in what it wants to achieve in the medium term. “When we took over the company we said we wanted to increase production ten times in five years and that still stands,” concluded Mr Beatenbough.