MILAN, ITALY – Three of Italy’s largest and best-known woodworking machinery manufacturers announced they are pulling out of Xylexpo 2010 to instead exhibit at Technodomus, an emerging competing show that ends 10 days before and is just 200 miles away.

Biesse SpA of Pesaro, Cefla Finishing SpA of Imola and SCM Group SpA of Rimini issued a joint statement explaining their decision to defect from Xylexpo. The companies, which claim to represent more than 50% of the Italian woodworking production, said, “We have decided to accept the proposal offered by Rimini Trade Fair to confirm our participation in Technodomus 2010 and to not take part in the Milan Xylexpo 2010 exhibition. Our main purpose (is the need) to achieve a much favorable ratio between benefits derived from the promotional investment in trade fairs and their related costs. It was therefore essential to find alternative solutions to the current exhibition’s offer.”

Xylexpo prepared to fight

Two days earlier, organizers of Xylexpo had issued a press release headlined: “Woodworking Technologies: An Absurd Challenge from Rimini to Milan.”  

“We can only be disconcerted by the decision of Fiera di Rimini and we are ready to face this challenge and defend Xylexpo’s leadership by any means necessary,” said Ambrogio Delachi, president of ACIMALL, the Italian woodworking machinery association, which organizes the biennial Xylexpo exhibition.

“We have waited until now to officially comment upon this appalling decision as we could hardly believe that such a proposal, immediately rejected by almost all Italian companies and international groups could be seriously taken into consideration,” Delachi added. “In such a complex and difficult economic period, when each and every organization, institution and company should team up to defend an industry whose leadership is seriously threatened, we are forced to waste precious energy to fight back against decisions that are certainly not in the interest of ‘made in Italy.’”

Xylexpo vs. Technodomus

Xylexpo is scheduled for May 4-10 at the FieraMilano Rho Fairgrounds. It is widely regarded as Europe’s second most important woodworking machinery event behind Ligna in Hannover, Germany. The show dates back 40 years. Organizers claim it attracts more than 80,000 attendees and 850 exhibitors.

The second edition of Technodomus is scheduled for April 20-24; it is being organized by the Rimini Trade Fair. Biesse, Cefla and SCM each exhibited at the inaugural event held in spring 2009. The show claimed 18,000 visitors in 2009, including 28% from outside of Italy.

“The Rimini Trade Fair proposal, experienced in 2009 with very satisfactory results, considering it was the first edition, proved a solution consistent to the dynamic approach demanded by the current market,” the three companies stated in their joint release. “We believe that Technodomus is the most advantageous solution offered by the trade fair industry in Italy both in terms of qualified international customers visiting and also in terms of costs related to the Rimini location, which is also more favorable in terms of services.”

Past Xylexpo controversies

Xylexpo is not unaccustomed to battling for exhibitors and attendees. In 2002, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, SCM pulled out of the show and held its own event in Rimini. That same year, Biesse rented a velodrome in Milan and held its own event overlapping the Xylexpo dates.

In 2008, Sasmil, the international exhibition of accessories and semi-finished products for the furniture industry, broke away from Xylexpo, ending a long relationship during which the two events had been co-located and co-promoted.

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