According to figures published by Acimac, this result was driven by a slight fall in domestic Italian sales (-1.3%) to 573.1 mill. euros and a bigger contraction in exports (- 4.3%) to 1 585.1 mill. euros. There were slight falls in the number of companies to 143 (2017: 148), and the number of employees, which dropped by 5.1% to 6 905 following the strong growth in 2017.
Paolo Sassi, Chairman of Acimac: “Over the last five years, our customers had made significant investments in renovating their production plants so a fall-off in revenue was only to be expected.”
The best performances were in the markets that had been least dynamic in the past. The Russian Federation, Ukraine and other Eastern European countries saw 77-% growth compared to 2017 to a value of 238.4 mill. euros, becoming the second largest market after the EU.
Excellent results were achieved for the second year running in China and Taiwan, where the ceramic machinery manufacturers’ sales grew by 25% to 129.7 mill. euros. Sales performed strongly in Africa and particularly in Algeria where local customers invested 186 mill. euros in Italian technologies. Conversely, the biggest declines occurred in North America (-23.7%) and in the Middle East.
The brick and roofing tile machinery sector was hit by the sharp decline in exports (-29.2%) and dropped to third position, down from 125.1 to 90.5 mill. euros (-27.6 %).
Sales to producers of refractory materials totalled 55.1 mill. euros, 37.3% up on last year’s 40.1 mill. euros.
Forecast for 2019
Several important markets continued to stagnate in the first few months of the year, so the outlook for 2019 is very cautious. Sassi expects that revenues will remain stable at above 2 bill. euros in line with the figures for the previous two years.