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Another Record Year for the Italian Ceramic Machinery

2017 was another growth year for the Italian ceramic machinery and equipment manufacturers. According to figures published by the Research Department of ACIMAC, the sector’s trade association affiliated to Confindustria, 148 companies with a workforce of 7277 employees (+10 %) generated a turnover of EUR 2237 billion, a further 10,3 % increase on the previous year’s figure.

“This is the 5th year of steady growth, demonstrating our companies’ ability to respond to the dynamic, ever-changing situation in world markets with timely solutions and continuous innovations,” said Paolo Sassi, ACIMAC’s Chairman.
Exports, which accounted for 74 % of total sales, were crucial to achieving these results and consolidating the sector’s world leadership position. In 2017, exports totalled EUR 1656 billion (+7,1 %). However, the best performance was in the Italian market with 20,6 % growth to a ­total of EUR 580,6 million. The incentives of the Government’s Industry 4.0 Plan drove investments on the part of the Italian clientele, who maintained its international leadership in terms of cutting-edge technology.
Export sales confirm the leadership position of Italian ceramic machinery manufacturers and their role as the most important industrial system in the world. It has an extensive presence in international markets with export shares divided equally amongst the main regions.
The largest area of export was the European Union with a turnover of EUR 431,5 million (26 % of total turnover), 26,2 % up on 2016. In second place was Southeast Asia with 14,7 % growth to EUR 273,3 million, 16,5 % of total turnover. Next was the Middle East, which remained stable at EUR 230,9 million (13,9 % of total exports). Africa climbed a few positions in the rankings to the fourth place with EUR 169,1 million (+13,8 %). South America was close behind with 6,2 % growth to EUR 168,6 million. By contrast, the North American market saw a 19 % fall to EUR 141,1 million. Eastern Europe also experienced a 15 % contraction in investments to EUR 134,7 million. Sales to China enjoyed double-digit growth (+20,4 %) to EUR 103,8 million. Closing out the rankings was Oceania with EUR 3,6 million, 3,3 % up on 2016. Along with exports, a total turnover of almost EUR 500 million was generated by the 76 companies operating outside Italy but controlled by Italian groups. The breakdown of turnover by client sectors remained almost identical to that of pre­vious years. Tile machinery was once again the largest sector accounting for 86 % of total turnover, up 13,2 % to EUR 1927,1 million. The 2nd most import­ant client sector was that of the brick and roofing tile machinery, which however continued to experience significant diffi­culties with a further 18,1 % contraction in turn­over to EUR 125,1 million.
Next came the ceramic sanitaryware ma­chin­ery with a turnover stable at EUR 115,4 million. Refractory machinery remained in the fourth position with a turnover of EUR 40,1 million (+15,7 %). Tableware machinery saw an upturn (+19,1 %) to EUR 21,9 million as did the Technical Cer­amics sector (EUR 7,4 million, +46,9 %).
The outlook for the current year is cautious. “Considering the inevitable stabilisation of investments in Italy and the first signs of a slowdown in some world markets, we expect to see our turnover remain unchanged in 2018,” concluded P. Sassi.

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