Richard Darwin, Group Commercial Director at IBP Group, said: “We were fortunate in identifying the opportunity for growth through establishing production in Poland and this has proven to be a winner, many times over. The commitment, innovation and expertise provided by all those involved has built great success for Conex Bänninger over the past 25 years, and made a major contribution to the rich heritage of the IBP Group.”
Today’s facilities comprise a modern foundry in the Poznan district and a 12,000 square metre warehouse and logistics hub at nearby Sady, from where Conex Bänninger fittings and valves are distributed throughout Europe and as far as Australia and the USA. The two sites employ around 400 people in production and a further 150 in logistics and sales.
Instalfittings was established in 1987 by founder Irekneusz Grupa, known to his colleagues as ‘Irek’. At the time of acquisition by IBP Group the company had a workforce of just 50, making red brass and compression fittings.
Richard Darwin said: “Irek was an inspirational leader and when IBP Group acquired the company he initially stayed on as CEO. Later, as Sales and Marketing Director, he continued to play a central part in the business’s success, ensuring that the growing range of products was taken into new, international markets.”
Those early years saw investment in a new warehouse, brass fittings production was extended and a new sales team was introduced. At the time Conex and Bänninger were separate brands but, building on the strong core developed in Poland, in 1994 IBP Group merged the two to form Conex Bänninger.
Subsequent transitions in production saw copper products brought to the market, with copper pushfit, >B<Press and also red brass fittings introduced in 1999. The expansion to Sady, about 17 kilometres from Poznan, took place in 2005.