The world-wide decline in investment in the construction sector has affected Italian manufacturers of capital goods for the ceramic industry.
The Italian industry’s revenue has fallen by 3.5% to €2.1 billion. Exports have been the worst hit, with a 4.3% decline.
After five years of growth, the total revenues generated by the manufacturers of machinery and equipment for ceramic and heavy clay suffered a 3.5% decline in 2018 to a total value of €2.158 billion.
According to figures published by the Italian industry’s trade association Acimac, this result was driven by a slight fall in domestic Italian sales (-1.3%) to €573.1 million and a bigger contraction in exports (-4.3%) to €1,585.1 million. Employment in the sector dropped by 5.1% to 6,905 following growth in 2017.
“We’ve seen a slowdown in many countries’ economies since the middle of last year, including widespread stagnation in construction,” said Acimac’s Chairman Paolo Sassi.
“Over the last five years, our customers had made significant investments in renovating their production plants so a falloff in revenue was only to be expected,” continued Sassi.
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 with respect to 2017 to a value of €238.4 million, 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 million.
Sales performed strongly in Africa, and particularly in Algeria, where local customers invested €186 million in Italian technologies.
Conversely, the biggest contractions occurred in North America (-23.7%), where the Tennessee manufacturing district reached the end of its positive growth cycle, and in the Middle East.
The tile sector continued to dominate in 2018, accounting for 86.5% of total revenue with a value of €1.867 billion despite a 3.1% year-on-year contraction. Sales to Italian tile manufacturers grew by 1.8% over the previous year.
“We expect the situation in some markets to remain critical, while in others we are beginning to see a slight recovery. We are therefore expecting our revenues to remain stable at above €2 billion, in line with the figures for the previous two years,” concluded Sassi.
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