TOP BRANDS – SPORTS DIRECT.

A hundred years of tennis heritage and the brand that catapulted Bjorn Borg to World number-one. Donnay is the go-to brand for those who play tennis as a hobby, and those professionals seeking quality and function.

Donnay was the first brand acquired by IBML who now own the worldwide rights. A host of international stars have been associated with the brand including five-time Wimbledon Champion Björn Borg and Career Grand Slam winner Andre Agassi.

Recognised for its range of high-quality tennis products Donnay is well known for its successful clothing and equipment ranges that are suitable for all ages.

Donnay provides functionality and quality along with value for money. As a leader in the tennis world, it is an iconic brand built for the professional and used by those with a passion for tennis. It believes in empowering the customer, achieving success whilst continuing to deliver world-class sporting equipment.

 

Wikipedia Article Donnay

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donnay_(sports)

 Although I know from past experience not to put my full trust into Wikipedia for 100% factual information. There are surprisingly few places to look for information on Donnay. 

 

 

Donnay Sports is a sporting goods brand owned by the British retailer Sports Direct International. The company was founded in 1910 by Emile Donnay and was based in Couvin, Belgium. Donnay manufactured wooden tennis rackets from 1934, and by the 1970s was the largest manufacturer of tennis rackets in the world. However, the company failed to adapt to the new market for graphite rackets, and entered administration in 1988. After a succession of owners, the brand was eventually sold to Sports Direct, who continue to license the use of the brand worldwide.

Donnay rackets were used professionally in Europe by Björn Borg from 1975 until his retirement in 1983. Other professionals included Andre Agassi, Rod Laver and Greg Rusedski.

 

 

 

History Of Donnay

(according to Wikipedia) 

The company was founded in 1910 by Emile Donnay (1885 – 1972) as a wooden tool handle manufacturing co-operative with six employees.

[1] Emile Donnay had little education and a modest background.[2]The company began to diversify into other wooden products, including a bow for archers, which continues to be reflected in the Donnay bow-shaped logo.[3] In 1924 Donnay built premises in Couvin.[4]

The company manufactured its first tennis rackets in 1934.[5] In the early 1950s the company won a valuable contract to produce tennis rackets for Wilson.[6]

Björn Borg using a Donnay racket in the final of the 1979 ABN Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam

 

By 1969 Donnay was the world’s largest manufacturer of tennis rackets. By the early 1970s, Donnay was producing 2 million rackets a year, 1.3 million of which were shipped to Wilson for distribution.[6] Production suffered in 1973, when Wilson relocated its tennis racket production to Taiwan.[6]

In 1981 Donnay produced 1.8 million rackets, almost all made from ash.[7] The company failed to adapt to the changing market for the new lightweight graphite rackets.[6] The company produced only 3,000 graphite rackets in 1980, instead concentrating on wood and aluminium rackets.[6] The company continued to manufacture wooden rackets until 1984, by which time they were obsolete.[8]

Buoyed by the success of signing up Björn Borg as a Donnay user, the company employed 600 people and manufactured around 1.5 million tennis rackets a year.[1] In 1981 Donnay reported a turnover of 2.1 billion Belgian francs. Donnay’s fortunes began to fade when Borg retired in 1983.[6] Its success had been too closely aligned with Borg’s success, and the company lost money for four years before entering administration in 1988 after amassing debts of $35 million.[6][9] 

The company had apparently lacked the negotiation skills to attract another player of Borg’s standing as a figurehead.[1]

The Donnay family still controlled 55 percent of the company when it went bankrupt in 1988.[1] The Walloon and Belgian governments held the remaining shares.[1] The company was acquired by a group of investors, led by Bernard Tapie with a 51 percent stake, the Walloon government with 29 percent and Albert Frere with 20 percent.[9] In 1991 Tapie sold his 58 percent stake in the company to the Walloon government for $16.2 million in order to finance the acquisition of Adidas shares.[10] 

The government sold the factory to an Italian sports equipment manufacturer, Carbon Valley, and retained the brand rights.[10] In December 1992 the Walloon government took ownership of the company in order to prevent it from entering administration again.[11]

In 1996 SportsDirect acquired the worldwide rights to the Donnay brand from the Walloon government for $3.9 million.[12] At the time of the acquisition, production was based in Portugal, while 23 people remained employed at a distribution center in Couvin.[12] SportsDirect sells Donnay products as an in-house brand and licenses its production of Donnay branded products overseas.

[13] SportsDirect also separately licenses the brand to independent manufacturers and sellers of Donnay branded products, including tennis racquet production in the United States. [14]

 

Donnay Sports is a sporting goods brand owned by the British retailer Sports Direct International. The company was founded in 1910 by Emile Donnay and was based in Couvin, Belgium.

Donnay manufactured wooden tennis rackets from 1934, and by the 1970s was the largest manufacturer of tennis rackets in the world.

Donnay rackets were used professionally in Europe by Björn Borg from 1975 until his retirement in 1983. Other professionals included Andre Agassi, Rod Laver and Greg Rusedski.

The company manufactured its first tennis rackets in 1934.[5] In the early 1950s the company won a valuable contract to produce tennis rackets for Wilson.[6]

By 1969 Donnay was the world’s largest manufacturer of tennis rackets. By the early 1970s, Donnay was producing 2 million rackets a year, 1.3 million of which were shipped to Wilson for distribution. Production suffered in 1973, when Wilson relocated its tennis racket production to Taiwan.

Donnay’s fortunes began to fade when Borg retired in 1983.[6] Its success had been too closely aligned with Borg’s success, and the company lost money for four years before entering administration in 1988 after amassing debts of $35 million.[6][9] 

The company had apparently lacked the negotiation skills to attract another player of Borg’s standing as a figurehead.[1]

The 1980s Snauwaert Ergonom tennis racquet