ITALY - GIMAV Releases Report on Machinery Industry
September 12, 2011

GIMAV -- the Association of Italian manufacturers and suppliers of machinery, accessories and special products for glass processing - recently conducted its annual statistical survey of the industry.

The glass-processing machinery, accessories and special products sector showed promising signs of growth, although still characterized by a boom-and-bust trend, according to the association. In 2010, imports scored an overall increase of 2.64 percent compared to 2009, but with contrasting performance of the two sectors comprising the glass processing industry:

-Cold working machines and accessories (flat glass): +39.01 percent
-Hot working machines and accessories (hollow glass): - 4.27 percent.

Out of 53.45 million euro imports, the flat glass processing sector claimed 11.5 million EUR, i.e. More than 39-percent increase over 2009. This boost basically returned the values to pre-2008 levels. The primary area of origin was the European Union with little less than 10 million EUR. France remains the leading supplier with 4 million EUR, followed by Germany with 3.4. The United Kingdom exhibited outstanding growth, quadrupling its exports to Italy and reaching a share of over 10 percent.

Among non-EU countries, Turkey is also worthy of note as supplies from this country, the association reports, even though remaining modest in terms of absolute values, actually grew by 450 percent.

Imports from China took an upswing (+167 percent) after the downward plunge in 2009, similar to those of Japan (73.74 percent) which appeared to be slowly but steadily rising.

After the heavy setback of 2009, exports slowly started climbing again, but with periods of promising vitality dotted with moments of market stagnation. The sector closed 2010 on positive ground, especially due to the hollow glass component which witnessed the revival of some of those investment projects that had been abruptly put on hold between 2008 and 2009.

Flat glass exports also rose, but seemed to be struggling more due to the continued crisis of the outlet sectors for some of its products, with the building industry being the most striking example.

As of 31 December 2010, the statistical surveys for exports indicate an overall growth of +5.28 percent, more specifically:

- machinery, accessories and special products for flat glass + 1.20 percent
- machinery, accessories and special products for hollow glass + 13.67 percent

Sales in the "Glass Processing" category are generated by firms operating in the areas of machinery, chemistry, plastics, rubber and many more. The common denominator, upon which the entire chain hinges, is the end customer, the one who makes and processes glass. Given the complexity of the situation, the only official source - the Italian Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) - understandably provides incomplete data since it is limited to imports and exports identified by only five Customs codes -- two for flat glass and three for hollow glass.

In the collection of data regarding domestic sales, GIMAV distributes a detailed questionnaire to all of its members and to any major non-member firms. The return rate of completed questionnaires by members is high.

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