Milano, ITALY- According to the preliminary figures processed by the Studies Office of Acimall, 2011 should have closed with 5.8 percent growth compared to 2010. This is a positive figure, though definitely far from the results we might have expected based on the trend of the first semester. Good news for export, up by more than 10 percent, with France and Germany as top destination countries, as opposed to a significant reduction of import, which clearly indicates a standstill is woodworking technology investments in our country, especially in the high end of the market (apparent consumption decreased by 9.5 percent compared to 2010).

In the past twelve months, the gap from pre-crisis levels remained unchanged, once again showing that recovery in the past two years (stronger in 2010 with plus 23 percent over a dramatic 2009) is not enough to bring our industry back to the size it used to have. If we consider an index of 100 in 2000, the industry is currently at an index of 70.

“While the first semester had brought some optimism – commented Dario Corbetta, Acimall Studies Office manager – the second half of the year showed it is very unlikely we may soon go back to pre-crisis levels. As we pointed out in the preliminary report for 2011, the industry is still suffering, with an offer that is higher than demand.”

ITALIAN WOODWORKING MACHINERY: 2011 PRELIMINARY DATA

Tools included, in million Euros

 

  2011

   ∆% 11/10

 

 

 

Production

1,632

+5.8%

Export

1,180

+10.5%

Import

145

-20.3%

Apparent consumption

597

-9.5%

Trade balance

1,035

+17.3%

 

Source: Acimall Studies Office, February 2012

 

Figures are self-explaining: domestic production – based on export data that account for 75 percent of wood machinery and technology manufactured in our country – increased less than expected.

As already mentioned, the first semester was in line with the positive outlook emerged in 2010, which announced a much more significant increase in production. Unfortunately, the second half of the year did not confirm these signals, presenting a complex situation that does not offer a clear vision of what is happening in our industry. Furthermore, some market niches (technology for windows and wood constructions first) recorded a good trend, but recent months have seen widening gaps between companies that share the same products and the same markets. On one hand, today more than ever, there is a widespread belief that the commitment of each individual, their will and their loyalty to the company make the difference, while on the other it is apparent that this is hard to measure in statistical terms.

“Internationalization is always the predominant issue – states Dario Corbetta – but the surrounding scenario has changed completely, it is no longer the situation our business owners were used to. Until few years ago, it was enough waving the banner of “made of Italy” and manufacturing machines with an adequate price/performance ratio to fill the orders book. Today, the markets are much more complex and require different behavior and even stronger commitment: “made in Italy” products are trying to find a place in more and more crowded countries, where you must have a constant and continuous presence. This situation is true for all industries, but mostly where the competition from technology manufacturers from emerging countries is strong, and where demand for equipment with lower requirements in terms of technology content, operator safety and innovation is greater.

“Today more than ever, you have to approach your customers and prospects through exhibitions, industry press, constant initiatives”, adds Corbetta. “This requires energy and resources to launch effective programs, and this brings us back to the problem of the average size of Italian companies, often too small”.

In this respect, just consider that out of 300 companies in our industry, approximately thirty have a turnover above 10 million Euros, and only five exceed 50 millions. In spite of this, the industry of Italian technology has achieved great success for a long time, so that now we are the segment of mechanical engineering with the best trade balance, positive by more than one million Euro.

“Our companies – Corbetta said – have been standing up well against international competition, often thanks to dimensions that make them more flexible and reactive to customer requirements, acquiring more and more significant market shares. The situation is now different and bigger size could be essential to survive. This is the big challenge the Italian industry of woodworking technology must face”.

Source: Acimall

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