After a year of ups and downs, endured in a state half-way between the hope of seeing the power train driving the global economy take off for good, and the fear of being caught up again in the grips of the waning crisis.

The time has come to start looking back on the last twelve months, without the comfort of knowing all the numbers, but based on the evidence and conversations with industry professionals.

All the indicators point to a new season of success for Made in Italy products in the glass sector – as evidenced by the positive results Gimav gathered at the international events in which it participated as the focal point for the leading Italian manufacturers in the sector.

We can already say that 2010 will be remembered as an 'atypical' year, characterized by the highlights and shadows of constant uncertainty. Considering the orders that came in during the first part of the year, it seemed like the comeback was a sure thing. The mechanical industry in Italy posted an encouraging 2.1% growth at the end of August, along with a 3.1% increase in exports. But September ushered in the cold winds of a reversal, and a nagging slowdown in orders. The final profit and loss picture for 2010 will, in all likelihood, be similar to 2009, mirroring performance made up of highs and lows.

Aside from the results of the last few months, what does seem clear is the renewed and vigorous appeal of Made in Italy technology for the entire glass processing industry. It's a phenomenon that was reported throughout the last year at the leading trade fairs and was confirmed again at Glasstec, where the influx of foreign visitors to the Italian stands was extremely significant. Especially at Düsseldorf, where more than 45,000 visitors paid tribute to the high esteem in which China, India, the United Arab Emirates, as well as Malaysia and Korea, and the 'rediscovered' Canada and USA hold Italy's ability to design high-performance, technologically avant-garde machinery and entire lines. The business contacts garnered in this favorable climate provided a clear injection of confidence for the Italian manufacturers participating under the Gimav banner in a 13,000 sq. m exhibition space. As Dino Fenzi, Honorary President of the Association, remarked, "There's an air of extreme satisfaction among the Italian manufacturers – during these times, with such a complex global economy, Italian-made glass processing machinery has once again demonstrated its ability to attract hordes of visitors, thanks to the high technological content and excellent quality of the product, confirming that Italy is still among the industry's top leaders".

Momentum is gaining throughout Europe, though at a slightly slower pace, and certainly with marked differences from one country to another. Over all, it is still the primary outlet, but, naturally, aside from the uneven comparison with the speed of growth of GDP in emerging countries, it is also subjected to the impact that the crisis has had on various economies. For example, Russia is still plagued by financial difficulties, against the considerable business potential for the Italian industrial machinery manufacturing industry. The general situation in Eastern Europe appears to be smoother, specifically in Poland and Bulgaria, where demand is perking up and should yield the first positive results around the first part of 2011.


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