Hollow Glass Doing Fine

Despite the apparent severity of the early, and not easily interpreted, statistical data, 2013 seems to be ending positively for Italy's manufacturers of hollow glass; and the forecast for 2014 is also quite rosy.

Confirmation comes from Bottero, also a major international player in this industry.  

If we look at the early figures for this strange 2013 with its lingering signs of a very difficult 5-year period, some situations are not easy to interpret. One of these is in the hollow glass industry, which did incredibly well in 2012 but seemed to experience a worrying turnaround in 2013. At least this was the situation depicted by ISTAT statistics for the first semester, which are not altogether reliable however because GIMAV has yet to complete its yearly detailed analyses.

 

Concerned that this could be a warning sign, we wanted to see for ourselves how things actually stood. We contacted Bottero,  certainly one of the leading manufacturers in the Italian glass industry with annual sales of around 150,000,000,00 Euros, 40% from its hollow glass machinery, especially for glass bottle production.

We spoke to Hollow Glass Sales Manager Paolo Mazzone, asking him for his general opinion on the state of health of the industry, who immediately dispelled any doubts: “The hollow glass industry is on the road to recovery, it was a reasonably good year overall, and things are looking good for 2014”.

 

If that’s the case, why are the figures worrying?

“We’ve been experiencing a schizophrenic trend recently, and have been constantly under stress because of confirmed orders overlapping with withdrawn orders. This instability makes the market extremely sensitive to financial tensions and flows in demand, and the effect is that periods of great demand can be followed by standstills. It’s as if medium-to-long-term planning has disappeared: but the world has changed and we need to adapt, because things will certainly not go back to being as they were before. The challenge we face now is to continue sourcing the best markets for business”.

Let’s take a quick look at some of these markets, starting with Europe.

“If we consider Turkey as being part of Europe (which is plausible from the economic point of view), then we can be optimistic. In fact, Turkey is currently a very fast-growing country, just like France, which is propelled by a strong wine market. Russia is suffering a little, but Poland for example is doing well. Germany has been disappointing, and the short-term prospects are

unsatisfactory”.

What if we move outside Europe?

“South East Asia is also very promising, where Thailand and Indonesia are really working a great deal. China is very much influenced by local supplies, but we are working well in the high market brackets. It is now becoming more discerning about quality however and this is an interesting aspect because it’s a huge market of course. South America is very interesting: Brazil has already reached noteworthy levels, while Chile and Argentina are following the upward trend of the wine market. The United States is a mature market, and the players are very few: in terms of value it’s an enormous market, but here the challenge lies in holding on tight to the positions we have achieved”.

What can we expect in 2014?

“We can be cautiously optimistic: things got off to a good start, our orders will be keeping us quite busy for the first part of year. The market will probably be more stable and with better medium-term prospects”.

600450 Hollow Glass Doing Fine glassonweb.com

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