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Polish leasing market one of largest in the EU

The leasing industry is one of the engines of the Polish economy, says Monika Constant, president of the Polish Leasing Association. It finances almost 30% of investment outlays and is the preferred form of financing for the SME sector, which generates nearly 50% of GDP, according to a report prepared by the Polish Leasing Association and the consulting company EY-Parthenon. However, its faster development is still hampered by legal barriers, including: no possibility of concluding leasing contracts remotely. 

“This is a flagship thing that the leasing industry in Poland postulates: covering the leasing contract in a document form so that we do not have to sign it with a pen, but e.g. via SMS, a special code or even using facial verification on a mobile phone, as we do today in banks,” says Paweł Pach, chairman of the Council of the Polish Leasing Association.

The new report “Leasing on the transformation path. We are driving the economy for 30 years,” by the Polish Leasing Association (ZPL) and the consulting company EY-Parthenon on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of its founding, shows that the Polish leasing market is currently the fastest growing market in the European Union. However, in terms of the value of assets financed by leasing, it currently ranks fifth in Europe, catching up with countries such as the UK, Germany, France and Italy.

“Nearly 30% of all investment outlays in the Polish economy are financed by leasing – notes Paweł Pach, chairman of the Council of the Polish Leasing Association and president of the management board of PKO Leasing,” in an interview with the Newseria Biznes news agency. 62% of people choose leasing as the basic form of financing their business activities of small and medium-sized enterprises, with half of the GDP in Poland being created by the SME sector.

The report shows that over the last 18 years, the Polish leasing market has grown more than sixfold: from 16 billion zlotys of financed assets in 2005 to 102 billion zlotys in 2023, growing at an average rate of 10.9% annually and becoming one of the key elements of the functioning of the national economy. Last year, the industry broke the barrier of 200 billion zlotys in the value of all assets used by over 1 million customers. However, the total value of investments financed by leasing over the last 30 years reaches as much as PLN 1 trillion.

“The leasing industry in Poland has been growing almost every year for 30 years. Only during major turbulence did it experience any stumbles, and that was 2009, the Lehman Brothers crisis, and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic – these are the only two periods when we did not record growth, in all other years the increases were double-digit,” says Pach.

On the Polish market, almost half (49%) of assets financed by leasing are light vehicles. Next come: machines, devices and others (28% of the market) and trucks (22% of the market). 

However, real estate accounts for only 1% of this market (which is a significant decrease from 15% in 2005). For movable assets, financing with leasing and loans is higher than financing with an investment loan – the value of all movable assets financed with leasing at the end of 2023 was approximately 200 billion zlotys, while with investment loans it was approximately 170 billion zlotys.

As the ZPL and EY report shows, there is currently an increasing share of lessors from banking groups and manufacturer groups on the Polish leasing market. At the same time, the importance of the largest companies is gradually growing: in the years 2018–2022, the market share of the 10 companies with the highest revenues increased by almost 10 percentage points (from 55 to 64 percent). Importantly, as many as 77% of companies operating on the Polish leasing market believe that the economic situation in this industry in the next few weeks.

Jo Harper
Jo Harper
Jo Harper is a British national with a 20-year freelance journalistic career in Poland, Germany and the UK, writing for Deutsche Welle, Politico, the BBC, the Daily Mirror, Gazeta Wyborcza, Polityka, New Eastern Europe and Forbes. He is a published author of books on Polish affairs and holds a PhD from the London School of Economics.