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Italian woodworking technology: Two-digit growth in 2006, bright prospects in 2007
A definitely satisfying preliminary balance for 2006 indicates a clear recovery of Italian woodworking machinery, with production topping 1.8 billion euro and export totaling almost 1.5 billion euro, close to 2000 record levels. These provisional results were presented by Acimall - the Italian woodworking machinery and tools manufacturers’ Association – during a press meeting on December 15

In the past twelve months, the Italian market has grown further with an 18% sales increase and imports up by 12%, +16% for apparent consumption.

According to the data processed by the Studies Office of Acimall and to the associates’ opinion, another season of growth should follow in 2007, even though not characterized by the same rates as recorded in 2006. The growth rate is expected to reach 5%, although the real trend on the markets where Italian manufacturers operate might cause remarkable variations on such rate.

Acimall Vicepresident Grazia Finocchiaro presented a handful of data and remarks on international markets and the role Italian companies are playing.

Finocchiaro immediately reminded the mere 0.2% growth achieved by major woodworking technology manufacturers in 2005, a rather tough year for Italian companies - with 1,540 million euro production (-3.7% on 2004) and 1,260 million euro export (-5%) - following a 2004 that had shown evident signs of recovery (export +12%, production +7.6%). In 2005, the situation improved on the Italian market, where the sales of ‘made in Italy’ woodworking technologies went up by 3%, contributing with imports to an apparent consumption equal to 426 million euro (+5.2%).

The 2006 forecasts are different: “Talking about a preliminary balance - commented Grazia Finocchiaro - we can say that 2006 gave great satisfactions to Italian woodworking technology manufacturers: the expansion stage is consolidated and export has strengthened on several fronts. The most interesting areas are confirmed to be the large developing countries. And Russia, where Italian exports have gone up by 96% between January and August, has returned to grow. During the same period, Italian sales expanded by 22.7% in Turkey, a country that is confirmed as one of the top ten destinations for Italian products.

India keeps bringing excellent results to Italian manufacturers (+82.7% between January and August), while “made in Italy” technology is gradually penetrating the large Chinese market with export on the increase - always between January and August on the same period in 2005 - by 32.8%, which is however not sufficient to fill the gap between Italy and the other huge European and Asian competitors.

The Middle East is becoming more and more important for Italian exports. Import to Iran is frozen, and the demand for technology comes mostly from the United Arab Emirates, where the growth of purchased Italian machines exceeds 152%.

The tough South American market is finally delivering some positive signs of recovery for the second year in a row, and especially Brazil, where a 77.4% growth was recorded as compared to the already positive first 8 months in 2005.

In North and Central America, excellent performance was recorded by Italian exports to the United States (+11.8%) and Canada (+35.7%). Mexico is growing, too (+8,8%).

Among European markets - the most industrially advanced and mature - the recovery of Germany carries on with +21.1% after +37.4% in 2005, and demand for Italian technology is also growing in Spain (8.9%).

Cautious optimism for 2007 growth expectations. The Acimall Vicepresident reminded that “... the areas traditionally interested in Italian production (Spain, France, Germany, United States and Canada) will still be the main destinations, yet we are sure that the most important contribution to the success of Italian manufacturers will come from the increasing demand of large developing markets, i.e. Eastern Europe (Russia and Ukraine on top), the Balkans, Turkey, the Middle-East, the United Arab Emirates and India.

South America does not offer the best conditions for an immediate increase of Italian market share. Definitely promising areas - but still politically unstable and industrially disorganized like Peru and Colombia - are combined with the huge Brazilian market that, though recovering, still remains a “difficult” marketplace due to taxes on machinery import and the huge competition of national products in several segments.

The challenge with the Chinese market remains open”, concluded Grazie Finocchiaro. “A tough test, that is for sure, where we cannot avoid the clash against local competition that manufactures at extremely low costs, as well as German, Japanese and Taiwanese competition, that have already established their production units. This market requires particular attention and care in terms of investments in human resources and business policy, up to the evaluation of starting real industrial projects onsite, which is more and more discussed also in Italy".

Promotions and trade shows

Ambrogio Delachi, Acimall president, outlined the challenges for industry companies in the near future. “Acimall is working more and more intensely with common goals and strong projects, thanks to which we can say this is for sure one of our best seasons. The most impressive result is the record number of member companies, 223, that represent a 90% share of the national product of this sector.”

This success has been fuelled by the cooperation with Ice, the Italian Ministry of International Trade, and, to a lower extent, with local authorities and special units in the Chambers of Commerce for the definition of a rich series of promotion initiatives, including 29 participations at industry exhibitions in 2007.

Delachi announced the renewed commitment of the Confindustria association to supporting the professional training centers in Bangalore and Novosibirsk, which will be probably followed by a third one in Pakistan.

The Acimall president also mentioned the planned meeting with the International Trade Minister Emma Bonino: “...who is very sensitive to initiatives involving the economies of developing countries. It is going to be an occasion to talk with her about our industry, our problems and the need to speak to the benefit of an industrial system that substantially contributes to our trade balance”.

After mentioning the work done by Eumabois (mainly aiming at limiting the proliferation of exhibitions) and the creation of European technical standards, Delachi did not miss to express his opinion about the relationship with Confindustria, asking for a stronger representation of industry associations and medium-small industries at board level, a goal for which Acimall is actively working with Federmacchine: "...so that one, single strong voice can be heard representing the entire industrial machinery market within Confindustria”.

The situation with Federlegno-Arredo is more critical, “...in our opinion, this relationship is complicated by the fact that it represents a large, heterogeneous number of associations, not always driven by common interests. We regret that, because Acimall should be a natural partner for Federlegno-Arredo in the development and creation of innovative projects in the woodworking industry".

Then, we have the “same old problems” of our country: archaic bureaucracy (not only in Italy but also in Europe) and a banking system that does not include company support within its priorities, “..in a world market with an increasing number of competitors, where Far East companies work with no rules at all".

“We are a production category with a strong export orientation”, Delachi said. We sell 82% of our entire production abroad, yet - considering the international situation and the competition we face - we cannot afford to relax. Also for this reason, I am one of the strongest supporters of the decision to apply to an important international consulting agency for a survey on the state-of-the-art of our industry, so that our associates can get information and tools to consider the necessary steps (acquisitions, mergers, cooperation, business agreements, takeovers, etc.) to maintain and consolidate the acquired positions.

It is my opinion that, today, to compete in the international scenario, companies need a competent trained management staff, more energy and resources to invest in research and the development of new products and processes”.

Before the debate with attending journalists, the managing director of Cepra Paolo Zanibon closed the session by presenting a preview of the works in progress for next Xylexpo. After confirming the huge satisfaction for the 2006 edition (exhibitors +1.9% with an excellent increase in foreign companies and +12.5% in net exhibiting surface sold, together with the record levels of visitors equal to 93,266, 51.5% of whom from 113 countries), Zanibon reminded “...the important cooperation agreement between Cepra and Fiera Milano, according to which the next three editions of Xylexpo will be held in the new expo center in Rho”.

The Cepra managing director also announced the date of next edition - from Tuesday 27 till Saturday 31, May 2008 - "..confirming the schedule from Tuesday to Saturday as the most appreciated by exhibitors and visitors", underlining that "..already for some weeks, we have been evaluating to create even stronger synergy with Sasmil to integrate the two shows more and more."


Теги и ключевые фразы
new technologies of woodworking, cepra association, Italian woodworking technology, "www fordaq com", деревообробні станки, italian woodworking machinery

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