The Italian ceramic and brick machinery and equipment manufacturers experienced a downturn in 2008. According to the annual National Statistical Survey conducted by the Association of Italian Manufacturers of Machinery and Equipment for Ceramics (ACIMAC), “the sector’s turnover dropped by 5.8% to 1.8 million euro [2.6M USD]. The positive results achieved in the first half of the year were unable to offset the effects of the economic and financial crisis that hit the sector in the second half of 2008.”

The largest decline was seen in the domestic market, which fell by 13.6% from 551.4 million euro to 476.5 million euro. “This fall was due to the contraction in the two largest client sectors, ceramic tile and brick manufacturers, which were badly hit by the stagnation in the building and construction sector,” ACIMAC notes.

The association’s survey also revealed:
  • Exports remained more or less steady at 2007 levels with 1.3 million euro, a small decrease of 2.7%.
  • A breakdown of the figures by geographical areas reveals that Europe remains the market leader with a 39.3% share, followed by Asia, the Middle East, the United States, and Africa.
Forecasters predict “2009 will be another difficult year for the manufacturers of machinery and equipment for the ceramic and brick industries. The international crisis has frozen investments in almost all markets resulting in a decrease in orders, most of which are now limited to adapting and servicing existing plants,” ACIMAC stated.

“Nonetheless, our world leadership position is unchallenged, as is our companies’ ability to develop innovative solutions for customers and end users. This remains a crucial factor as it is the only way for us to overcome this difficult period,” commented Acimac’s chairman Pietro Cassani. “Our companies are concentrating their efforts on research and development in the certainty that we will emerge from the crisis stronger than before.”