Berlin - “Anyone who thinks they can get by successfully with simple machines in the growth markets is in trouble,” summed up Wolfgang Pöschl, Chairman of the VDMA woodworking machines association at the LIGNA launch press conference in Berlin. Production cost increases of ten to twenty percent in countries such as China, along with rising technical requirements, explain the growing demand for high-tech machines and facilities in emerging markets – preferably “Made in Germany”.
“The need for intelligent facility designs and flexible, automated machines will continue to grow with our customers’ own experience curve. We see rising demand around the globe for technologies that are already successfully used in established markets such as Germany. This trend is sure to continue,” Pöschl added.
Stable business expected in 2013
After a lively 2011 the sector has stabilized and is likely to have grown at a slower pace again in 2012. German woodworking machine manufacturers’ sales rose around two percent last year, according to current estimates. Suppliers of primary processing equipment probably achieved slightly more than the industry average in 2012. Suppliers of secondary processing equipment registered high growth rates in 2010 and 2011, resulting in a significantly stronger benchmark, so a slight reduction in sales is to be expected.
The association expects continued growth in 2013 in the low single digits. Thus, positive development – despite uncertainties – should continue in the coming year. “North America and Eastern Europe will ensure further growth and hopefully more than balance out the continued weak demand in certain Western European countries. One strength of German mechanical engineering is its global sales structure. This makes us less susceptible than other supplier nations to regional variations in demand. This year LIGNA is once again providing an additional push for the industry at just the right time. We’re already eagerly looking forward to the world’s largest industry event in Hannover,” announced Pöschl with optimism.
Exports starting to slow
Exports of German woodworking machines dropped by two percent to €1.5 billion in the first ten months of 2012. With the exception of presses for the wood composites industry, almost every segment registered a slight decrease. The largest reductions were in exports to Asia (-17%), the growth driver of previous years. Europe (+5.4%) and North America (+7%) registered particularly positive growth.
In terms of individual countries, Russia was the leading export market in 2012, replacing China which had held the top spot since 2008. Russian customers purchased machines from German manufacturers for a total of €177 million, a 28 percent increase. Following in second and third place are China (€175 million, +11%) and Belarus (€93 million, +431%). The strong growth in exports to Belarus is primarily due to investments in the wood processing sector. A positive outlook for the US market continues, with growth of 19 percent. The turnaround of the real estate market is not only impacting the price of sawn timber, but also machine sales.
Machine imports to Germany continue on an upward trend. Imports rose by two percent to a total of €286 million in the first ten months of 2012. China is by far Germany’s largest supplier, despite the unfavorable currency exchange, with a volume of €81 million (-0.1%). Next come Italy at €48 million (+53%) and Austria at €42 million (+23%).
Do you have additional questions? Dr. Bernhard Dirr, Managing Director of VDMA Woodworking machines, Tel. +49 69 6603-1594 would be happy to answer them.
German manufacturers of woodworking machines are the global market leaders – in terms of technology and sales alike.
Some 17,500 people working in 200 companies produced woodworking machines and tools valued at €3.4 billion in 2011.
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