The Italian manufacturers of machinery and equipment for the ceramics industry have achieved a record turnover. According to the National Statistical Survey conducted by Acimac, the sector’s turnover totalled € 1.983 bill. in 2015, 8 % up on the previous year and 2.3 % higher than the previous record set in 2007.
This result was a combination of 9.1 % year-on-year export growth and a 4.3 % increase in domestic sales.
Exports rose by 9.1 % on 2014 to reach the record figure of € 1.522 bill. With the share of 76.8 % of the total turnover, this is the highest in the industry’s history.
The top export destination was Asia (excluding China) with € 278 mill. (18.3 % of total turnover), a 29.3 % increase on 2014.
The European Union maintained second place with exports increasing from € 226.2 mill. to € 277.3 mill. (+22.6 %), making up 18.2 % of total turnover. Next was Africa (still mainly North Africa) with 22.8 % growth to € 203.8 mill. (13.4 % of total exports).
The Middle East saw a 25.1 % fall in exports to € 186.6 mill., dropping to fourth place in the rankings of Italian export destinations in 2015.
In fifth place was South America with € 185.9 mill. (+8 %). North America saw an excellent export performance, boosted by the new US manufacturing cluster, with turnover practically doubled to € 160.9 mill. (+92.8 %).
Next came Eastern Europe with a total of € 152.9 mill. (+7.9 %), East Asia (China, Hong Kong and Taiwan) with € 75.5 mill. (-34.9 %) and Oceania with a turnover of € 1.2 mill.
Internationalization of production
The 67 foreign companies controlled by Italian groups as of 31 December 2015 reported a turnover of € 492.5 mill., an increase on 2014.
Turnover generated from sales to Italian customers grew for the third year running to reach € 460. mill. (up 4.3 % on 2014), 23.3 % of the total turnover.
Heavy clay ceramics with excellent performance
The heavy clay machinery segment marked up an excellent performance with 38.3-% growth to reach a turnover of € 156.1 mill. after years of decline. Here too the growth was driven by exports, which rose by 42.8 % in 2015.
Structure of the sector
As of the end of December 2015 there were 148 companies operating in Italy (four fewer than in 2014) with a total workforce of 6 229 people (+0.4 %).
The sector maintained its highly polarized structure with the majority of companies (51.4 %) generating turnovers below € 2.5 mill. There were just 19 companies (12.8 % of the total) with turnovers above € 10 mill.
Forecasts for 2016
“The first quarter of 2016 closed with 9-% growth over the same period in 2015, driven by strong results abroad”, commented Acimac’s Chairman Paolo Sassi. “Exports grew by 14.2 % despite slowdowns in several major markets and the economic and social crises that are affecting some areas. This provides a clear indication of the robustness of our sector”, continued Sassi. “By contrast, domestic sales fell (-5.9 %) after two years of growth.”
“We hope that this growth will be confirmed over the coming months, allowing us to close the year with a small improvement over the already excellent results of 2015.”