Global Edition

Toro changes UK irrigation distributor

10.00am 17th January 2002 - Corporate

The Toro Company has appointed Lely (UK) Limited as its irrigation products distributor for the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Philip A. Burkart, Toro vice-president and general manager, International Division, announced the move. He said that the development, effective from February 1, enhances and expands the partnership between Toro and Lely, which began its role as UK distributor of Toro commercial equipment, such as professional turf mowers, aerators and utility vehicles, in 1983.

“Lely has been an outstanding partner handling Toro commercial products, and we anticipate the Lely team will deliver similarly exceptional performance with Toro irrigation,” Burkart said. “The Lely staff now includes a team of irrigation professionals whose experience and expertise, combined with their operational excellence, will make a positive difference for Toro irrigation customers in the UK and Ireland.”

Toro Irrigation was previously distributed in the UK and Ireland by TIL Irrigation Limited, a relationship which can be traced back for more than thirty years. Peter Roberts, chairman of TIL Irrigation, told “Golf Business” that he was saddened that this relationship had at last come to an end. “We have known about this development for several months,” he said, “and we have planned for a changeover that will be as seamless as possible so far as the customers are concerned. Officially we stop trading at the end of January but we shall continue to deal with customers thereafter and will work with both Toro and Lely to ensure that the hand-over goes smoothly. I expect that three of our sales people will be moving to join Lely although some redundancies in our head office staff are inevitable.”

New product launch from Hydroscape

“At BTME in Harrogate next week Hydroscape Limited, of which TIL Irrigation was a part, will be launching a new product which is the most exciting new development that I have ever seen,” continued Peter Roberts. “It is a revolutionary water product with applications not only in sports turf but also agriculture and horticulture. Toro’s decision to move the distributorship to Lely allows Hydroscape to concentrate all its resources on exploiting this new commercial opportunity.

“In some ways I fear that the best days of the irrigation industry may now be in the past. The boom in new golf course construction is behind us and the market today is almost wholly driven by price factors. The business needs shaking up and Lely is a big player who can do this.”

Toro Total Solutions

Lely (UK) Limited was founded in 1968 and is a member of the Lely group of companies, one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of agricultural machinery, with sales offices worldwide.

In its new role, Lely, of St Neots, Cambridgeshire, distributes Toro irrigation products such as sprinklers, valves, and controllers to Toro irrigation dealers throughout the UK and Ireland. Lely also provides dealers and end-users with next day parts, service, and technical support from its in-house staff and the Toro National Support Network (NSN) global computer support service.

“Toro is the only brand to offer both commercial equipment and irrigation and Lely now becomes the UK and Ireland’s source of Toro Total Solutions,” said Burkart. “Everyone at Lely shares the Toro commitment to provide value, productivity and strong product support. We feel fortunate to expand our relationship with such a quality partner.”

Toro personnel such as Andy Brown, irrigation manager for the UK and Northern Europe, are working closely with Lely to ensure the newly appointed distributor provides Toro irrigation customers with excellent customer care.

Lely managing director, Graham Dale, who started in the turf industry in 1973 and has been involved with Toro products since 1980, welcomed the opportunity to expand the Lely-Toro partnership.

“We have enjoyed a long and rewarding relationship with Toro and are pleased to increase our role as a Toro distributor,” said Dale. “A primary focus of our Toro irrigation business will be to strengthen partnerships with existing golf customers. We also see significant opportunity for large turf and golf customers to renovate and upgrade existing irrigation installations with products such as the Toro Gemini-Trident control systems.”

High Profile Customers

Lely assumes responsibility for supporting Toro irrigation in use by several high-profile UK golf properties, including the St Andrews Links Trust, Wentworth Golf Club, Royal County Down, Celtic Manor and the K-Club (Kildare Golf and Fishing Club), which will host the 2005 Ryder Cup, as well as stadiums that are home to many leading football and rugby clubs.

Along with managing director Graham Dale, other Lely team members with wide experience in the turfcare industry include general manager Peter Mansfield, who has worked with Toro customers since 1989 in a number of roles.

The Toro Company has more than 4,000 employees worldwide and is a leading provider of turf care solutions for landscapes ranging from residential lawns to the world’s most prestigious golf courses and sports complexes. The company’s headquarters are in Bloomington, Minnesota, USA.


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