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Italian Ceramic Machinery Turnover Tops EUR 2 Billion

The Italian ceramic machinery sector continues to have the wind in its sails, closing 2016 with a further 2,3 % rise in sales to EUR 2,028 billion following three years of growth. This marked an all-time record turnover for this important Italian capital goods sector.

“The 2016 results reflect our companies’ leadership position and the strength of an industry that is capable of maintaining a presence in all world markets and delivering innovations tailored to the needs of different types of customers in keeping with the latest Industry 4.0 trends,” said Paolo Sassi, Chairman of the sector’s trade association ACIMAC.

These results were driven excellent performances both in the domestic market (+4,5 %), bringing turnover in Italy to EUR 481,3 million and in international markets (+1,6 %), which in 2016 generated revenues of EUR 1546,4 million, 76,3 % of the total. 2016 marked the 4th consecutive growth year for the Italian market. Investments made by the important Italian clientele generated turnover growth of more than EUR 100 million (up 44 % on 2013). Employment saw an equally positive trend, rising by 6,2 % (compared to +0,4 % the previous year) to a total of 6614 people. At the same time the number of companies operating in the sector remained more or less stationary at 147 compared to 148 in 2015.

The Italian ceramic machinery industry continues to be highly export-oriented and has maintained its world-leading role in the sector. It has an extensive presence in international markets with export shares divided equally amongst the main regions. The largest area of export in 2016 was the European Union with a turnover of EUR 342 million (22,1 % of total turnover), 23,3 % up on 2015. Southeast Asia dropped to 2nd place with 15,4 % of total turnover, down from EUR 277,9 million to EUR 238,2 million (–14,3 %). In 3rd place, the Middle East saw 25,1 % growth (EUR 233,5 million, 15,1 % of global exports). North America climbed to 4th place in 2016 with 8,5 % growth to EUR 174,5 million. In 5th place was Eastern Europe with EUR 158,9 million (+3,9 %), 10,3 % of total exports. South America fell to 6th place following a 14,6 % contraction to EUR 158,7 million. Next came Africa with a total of EUR 148,6 million (–27,1 %), China, Hong Kong and Taiwan with EUR 90,8 million (+20,4 %) and Oceania with a turnover of EUR 1,2 million.

Along with exports, a total turnover of almost EUR 500 million was generated by the 67 companies operating outside Italy but controlled by Italian firms. Sales to tile manufacturers continue to make up the largest share of the sector’s turnover. In 2016, the turnover generated in this sector grew by 4,1 % to a total of EUR 1702,4 million, equivalent to 84,1 % of the total. Sales to bricks and roofing tiles manufacturers fell from EUR 156,1 million to EUR 152,8 million (–2,1 %), although it remained the 2nd largest client sector. Sales to the ceramic sanitaryware sector also fell, dropping from EUR 126,9 million to EUR 114,4 million (–9,9 %), mainly due to a sharp decline in sales in the Italian market (–50,3 %).

In 4th place came sales to producers of refractories with an 11,8 % decline in 2016. As a result, total turnover fell from EUR 39,3 million to EUR 34,7 million in spite of 84,2 % growth in the Italian market. The technical ceramics sector also saw a significant fall with sales down 26,7 % to EUR 5 million. By contrast, sales of machinery for tableware and giftware rose by 2,5 %, largely due to the strong performance of the domestic market.

The initial forecasts for the current year 2017 are positive. The figures for the first quarter of the year published by the ACIMAC Research Department reveal 13,3 % growth driven by the record performance in the Italian market (+60,6 %). “Many of our companies have an almost completely full order book for 2017 and are beginning to plan deliveries for early 2018”, commented Paolo Sassi. “We therefore expect to see slight end-of-year growth with respect to the already excellent results of 2016.”

(Source: ACIMAC Research Center, Italy)

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