Acimac: slower fall in the last quarter of the year
Sales of ceramic machinery and equipment improve. The MECS-Acimac research department observed a 10.6% fall in the final quarter of 2020. Causes of concern include rising prices of raw materials and components and maritime freight rates.
Baggiovara, March 2021 – The Italian ceramic machinery and equipment manufacturers represented by Acimac are seeing a slight improvement in their business performance. Following the decline in turnover in the last two years, sales in the final quarter of 2020 dropped by 10.6% compared to the same quarter of 2019, an improvement on the previous quarter when sales fell by 11.3%.
Export markets continue to show negative results (-3.4%), but less so than the domestic Italian market where sales have plummeted by 38.1%.
This difference is also evident in the 2020 preliminary full-year results, which reveal a 36.6% decline in Italy and a 13% contraction in the international market, resulting in a combined 18% drop compared to 2019.
Following an extremely negative first half of 2020, however, the companies in the sample monitored by the MECS-Acimac research department are continuing to see a gradual recovery. Some 90% of respondents expect to see a stable or upward trend in the domestic market in the first quarter of 2021. One in ten companies are anticipating an increase in exports while four in ten are more cautious and expect exports to remain stable. Overall, however, businesses are beginning to show the first signs of optimism.
In the first two months of 2021, the Italian and international ceramic industry has been seeing signs of recovery, with production of consumables (glazes, colours, components) increasing in response to the return to full-scale production in many countries, including Italy, Brazil, India, Spain and Turkey.
“From the preliminary full-year figures for 2020 it was already clear that the end of the Covid emergency could coincide with a physiological recovery in the ceramic machinery sector after two years of modest investments on the part of customers,” confirms Acimac’s chairman Paolo Mongardi. “Although we should be cautious, we are seeing the first signs of the hoped-for recovery in this first quarter of 2021.”
The main causes of concern in these early months of the year are the significant increases in prices of components and raw materials, particularly cobalt, as well as delays in supplies. Maritime freight rates for containerised transport between Asia and Europe also increased significantly due to the limited availability of containers and above all the insufficient hold capacity available to shipping companies, as well as the skewed supply-demand dynamics caused by the pandemic.