Robust sales in 4Q/2017 will lead on to a promising 2018: Acimall

Preliminary figures from Acimall, the association which represents Italy’s woodworking machinery manufacturers, suggest that 2017 was a good year for the industry. Production value reached EUR2.29 billion, up 11.6 per cent on the previous year.

Exports topped EUR1.6 billion, a 7.1 per cent increase compared to 2016. The top 10 export markets include the United States at number one, which accounted for EUR165.5 million of total sales. Germany, Poland and France follow.

Imports also rose 10 per cent year-on-year to EUR199 million while domestic market growth continued on the back of government initiatives which drove investment up in the recent years.

Domestic buyers spent a total of EUR894 million in 2017 compared to EUR743 million in 2016. Acimall believes that domestic sales could cross the EUR1 billion mark this year, a new record since 2001’s EUR900 million.

Order index for Italy’s woodworking industry. Source: Acimall

4Q/2017 results

The industry closed 4Q/2017 with a 36.8 per cent order increase compared to the same quarter in 2016. (Growth rate during the July-August term was 42.9 per cent higher compared to the same period of the previous year.)

Robust sales were mostly driven by increased orders from abroad. The figures were up by 35.2 per cent (51.5 per cent in Q3/2017). Demand from the Italian market achieved 49.5 per cent growth over the October-December 2016 period. (It was just 19.7 per cent in the second quarter.)

“Italian users are clearly going through a period of greater confidence which, combined with state incentives, is generating strong demand, exceeding even the most optimistic expectations,” said Dario Corbetta, Acimall director.

“Such results are not just satisfactory for technology vendors, but also anticipate increasing competition within the system.”

In the past few years, Italy’s the wood and furniture industry experienced a tough season, which saw all investments reduced to a minimum.

Corbetta added that upgrading machinery will enable Italy’s woodworking and furniture industry to leverage on technology and enterprise management systems to regain competitiveness.

Acimall members’ order books have mostly been filled up to 3.6 months (versus 3.4 in the previous quarter), the association noted—an indication of how 2018 will begin following a positive Q4/2017.

Prices as of January 1 show substantial stability, with a 1.1 per cent increase, the same trend recorded during the July-September period.

Most association members surveyed said employment will remain more or less the same.