Grenke began as a one-man business founded in Baden-Baden in West Germany in 1978. Originally leasing telephone systems, copiers and computers to offices, the company went public in 2000. It now operates globally from Brazil to Dubai, Canada to Singapore – as well as in Ireland.
Justin Twiddy, managing director of Grenke Ireland, which specialises in leasing business equipment to the SME sector, discusses the state of the asset finance market in Ireland.

Q: How would you describe the current health of the asset finance market in Ireland?
A: In the current climate of Covid-19 the entire global market is in a state of flux. However,
looking at the market prior to the crisis, the asset finance market had been very buoyant and at Grenke we had seen a significant growth and strength in the market in Ireland. The Irish economy was very strong and we had forged some new and exciting relationships with partners and resellers alike.

Q: What have been the most significant developments in this market since the beginning of 2019?
A: 2019 was a very strong year for asset financing in Ireland. We had seen and heard greater dialogue in the market – online, in print and radio about the benefits of asset financing. This in turn prompted increased contact with our sales team to find out more about our solutions giving the customer greater choice. The increased digitalisation of the sector also was significant. Better sales applications, e-Signature facilities, online portals all became the norm, allowing the customer greater flexibility in how they transact with the marketplace. Finally, as with all rising markets we saw increased competition in the sector. Where some might see this as a threat, we at Grenke welcomed this as it gives the customer greater choice indeed for ourselves having wellestablished and local sales teams we often worked with many partners to give the best solutions to a customer.

Q: Which sectors have performed particularly well over the last 18 months – and which sectors have shown less growthover that time?
A: IT and telecommunications have always been very strong sectors for us and will continue to do so, especially as more traditional sectors, such as medical and dental sectors increase their business digitalisation. More recently, we have seen growth in the technology and ‘eco’ sectors with customers looking to adapt their own business models to suit the market need and changes from 3D printers to industrial composting units. We have seen consistent growth in nearly all sectors with many revolutionising their own businesses as the market dictates.

Q: What is your company doing to encourage growth in asset finance activity in Ireland?
A: We have evolved as the market has. We have flexible leasing solutions be that single asset financing or larger, multi drawn down products. We increased our local sales teams allowing us to reach out more and extend the personal touch, which is critical for customers. In addition, we enhanced our digital offerings, which now, more than ever, have been so important: multiple touchpoints that give the customer fast, secure, online solutions. Finally, we increased our communications to the market across all channels and opened the conversation about leasing and invoice finance solutions.

Q: What are your expectations for market growth over the remainder of 2020?
A: Perspective is important at this time – everyone is in this together and we have seen some of the greatest demonstrations of what collectively, we, as a nation can do. Our strong leadership has taken some very tough decisions to protect the nation and that has to be applauded and recognised that ultimately it is for the greater good. 2020 will be a challenge. The reopening of businesses will be slow and cautious for everyone. I foresee new ways of doing business and engaging but in Ireland, more so than anywhere, we do business with people. We are friendly, open and personable – these attributes are already at the core of Grenke’s philosophy and will be relied upon more than ever to get us through this period and moving forward.