The Machine-Building Industry for the Glass Sector: Great Exports in 2011, Slight Downturn in 2012

Exports of Italian glass-processing machinery were up, with China (+34%), France (75%), Russia (+80%), Poland (+232%), India (+239%), and Brazil (+44%) as the main destinations.

Gimav, the Italian Association of Glass-Processing Machinery and Accessory Suppliers provides a close-up of the industry in 2011: exports up by 7.86% with more than positive results in China, but also in Poland, India, United States, Turkey and South Korea.

Gimav’s official data reflects positive growth for the industry of machinery, accessories and special products for glass processing in 2011, in line with the entire machine building industry, up by 11.5% at €7.8 billion. The positive performance is largely the result of brilliant exports, the true driving force behind the industry. Exports increased significantly and approached pre-crisis levels, unlike domestic sales that remained sluggish.


After the heavy setback of 2009 exports slowly started climbing again, but with periods of promising vitality dotted with moments of market stagnation. Despite this fluctuating performance, the sector closed 2011 on positive ground, although the flat glass industry is still feeling the pinch of the persisting crisis affecting the construction industry.

Statistical surveys for exports indicate an overall growth of +7.86%, more specifically:

- machinery, accessories and special products for flat glass + 5.10%

- machinery, accessories and special products for hollow glass + 12.90%

For the first time the European Union lost its leadership as Italy’s main preferential market outlet, dropping from 35.82% in 2010 to 29.94% in 2011. However, if all exports to non-EU countries are considered -- that proved to be on an encouraging upswing -- the Old Continent as a whole remains the destination of 46% of Italian exports.

Export flows are increasingly shifting towards the emerging countries in Asia and Latin America (although the latter is slightly slowing down compared to the recent past). Moreover, statistics also show that one of Italy’s historic market outlets, i.e. the United States, is starting to rebound.

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The ranking of the top 15 client countries by % share of total exports by Italian companies clearly highlights that the staggering rise of China continued also throughout 2011, thus confirming its leadership as Italy’s market outlet. Also noteworthy was the considerable growth of Poland, that climbed from the 11th to the 4th position and with an absolute value increase of over 230%, India (from the 15th to the 5th), the United States (from the 12th to the 8th), Turkey (from the 13th to the 9th) and South Korea, with a jump from the 24th to the 11th place. The main underperformers were Germany and Spain, the latter having almost halved its purchases from Italy, followed by Egypt (-59.56% in value) and Belgium (-80.51%).

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In 2011, imports scored an overall increase of 15.8% compared to 2010, but with contrasting performance of the two sectors comprising the glass processing industry:

Cold working machines and accessories (flat glass): - 42.34%

Hot working machines and accessories (hollow glass): + 30.25%.

Despite the strong export propensity, Italian companies are by far the preferred suppliers of the domestic market for this industry, especially for the flat glass-processing sector.

Industry sales

After the negative result suffered in 2009 and the faint recovery signs emerging in 2010, the Italian industry of machinery, accessories and special products for flat and hollow glass processing vigorously resumed its journey towards growth in 2011, despite the persisting weakness of the domestic market. “This notwithstanding – confirms Renata Gaffo, Director of Gimav – the future will not be all smooth sailing especially in the euro area in general and more particularly on the domestic market, due to the persisting recession in some key markets, first and foremost the construction industry”. The constantly growing prices of energy, raw materials and labor exacerbated by an exorbitantly high taxation level clearly indicate that the crisis will not be over soon. “Statistical surveys in the first two months of 2012 point to flagging demand from overseas, thus confirming the fluctuating trend that for a few years now has been a fixture of certain markets and which thwarts the development of far-reaching programs by our companies”.

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Press office:

Francesca Solera

Il filo rosso Solera & associati

Via Panfilo Castaldi, 33 - 20124 Milano - Italy

Ph. +39 02 29523341

600450 The Machine-Building Industry for the Glass Sector: Great Exports in 2011, Slight Downturn in 2012
Date: 17 July 2012
Source: GIMAV

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