Massimo Carboniero — president of Ucimu-Sistemi Per Produrre (www.ucimu.it
), the Italian association for manufacturers of machine tools, robots and automation systems — says 2018 was a record-breaking year for the sector. Production grew to a value of 6,900 million euros, equating to a 13.4% upturn compared with 2017 and marking the fifth consecutive year of growth — as well as a new record for the sector.
Mr Carboniero says that deliveries in Italy’s domestic market increased by 21.1% to 3,270 million euros, while exports increased by 7.2% to 3,630 million euros.
Based on Ucimu data for the first eight months of the year (the latest available), the main export markets were: Germany — 246 million euros (+11.6%); China — 237 million euros (+7.1%); the USA — 223 million euro (+9.5%); Poland — 143 million euro (+49.8%) and France — 135 million euro (-4.6%).
In 2018, overall machine tool, robot and automation purchases in Italy grew by 25.9% to 5,620 million euros, although predictions for 2019 paint a contrasting picture, with Ucimu saying that while output will grow to 7,040 million euros (+2%) thanks to an expected 5% increase in exports to 3,810 million euros, demand by Italian users will top out at 5,630 million euro (+0.2%).
Mr Carboniero says the “stationary situation of the domestic market will affect both the deliveries of Italian manufacturers, which will go down to 3,230 million euros (-1.2%) and imports that will reach 2,400 million euros (+2.1%).
“Of course, we understand that the growth we were used to cannot continue uninterrupted with its recent pace and intensity.
“However, it is important to keep in mind that a recent survey conducted by Fondazione Ucimu and the research group Eumetra shows that only 50% of Italy’s metal-working and engineering companies made investments in the period between 2017 and the first part of 2018.”
He went on to say the decision to eliminate Super-Depreciation — an instrument designed to encourage companies (in particular SMEs) to replace obsolete machinery — and to replace it with ‘Mini IRES’ (reduced Corporate Income Tax) is “a mistake for which the Italian industry may pay dearly.
“Our companies must keep on investing to improve their competitiveness.”