The year 2018 has been record-breaking for the Italian industry manufacturing machine tools, robots and automation systems, which registered double-digit increases for all economic indicators. The year 2019 will instead be characterised by a general stability. This is to sum up what was illustrated by Massimo Carboniero, President of UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE, the Italian machine tools, robots and automation systems manufacturers' association, during the usual end-year press conference.
As shown by the preliminary year’s data processed by the Studies Dept. of UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE, in 2018 production grew to 6,900 million euro, highlighting a 13.4% upturn compared with the previous year. This is the fifth consecutive year of growth and, in terms of absolute values, this is the new record of the Italian industry of the sector.
The outcome was due both to the excellent performance of the deliveries by Italian manufacturers in the domestic market, increased by 21.1% to 3,270 million euro, and to the positive trend of exports, up by 7.2% to 3,630 million euro.
Based on the ISTAT data processing by UCIMU, in the first eight months of the year (latest available survey), the main destination countries for the Made in Italy products of the sector were the following: Germany 246 million euro (+11.6%); China 237 million euro (+7.1%); United States 223 million euro (+9.5%); Poland 143 million euro (+49.8%) and France 135 million euro (-4.6%).
Thanks to these increases, Italy strengthened its role in the international scenario, where it stood out not only for the competence expressed by the industries of the sector, measured by the production and export data, but also for the dynamism of its demand, supported and stimulated by the incentive provisions for competitiveness, such as Super- and Hyper-Depreciation, included in the Industry/Enterprise 4.0 programmes.
In particular, in 2018, machine tool, robot and automation consumption in Italy grew by 25.9% to 5,620 million euro.
Italian users’ propensity to invest in new technology and also in digital products, pushed Italian manufacturers to focus on the domestic market, as proven by the reduction of the export/production ratio, which changed from 55.6% in 2017 to 52.6% in 2018.
Experiencing a non-favourable general atmosphere, in 2019, however the Italian industry of the sector should confirm its 2018 performances, enjoying a positive trend with regard to deliveries in the foreign markets, expected to increase. A clear slowdown is shown by the domestic market, whose growth trend seems to have lost the momentum we were used to over the last few years.
Output will grow to 7,040 million euro (+2%) driven by exports that are expected to grow by 5% and will reach 3,810 million euro. Consumption, i.e. the demand by Italian users, will stop at 5,630 million euro (+0.2%). The stationary situation of the domestic market will affect both the deliveries of Italian manufacturers, which will go down to 3,230 million euro (-1.2%) and imports that will attain 2,400 million euro (+2.1%). The export/production ratio will gain a percentage point, amounting to 54.1%.
Massimo Carboniero, President of UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE, commented: “We are satisfied with the outcome of 2018: the year is closing with excellent results, collected both in Italy and abroad. Moreover, considering the sales on the whole, i.e. not only of machines, but also by adding the production of parts, tools and numerical controls, which are not included in the total of Italian machine tools, we can say that the turnover exceeded 9 billion euro”.
“For 2019, although we are confident about maintaining the results of 2018, we notice an evident slowdown of investments in new machines by Italian users. Of course, we can understand that the growth we were used to cannot continue uninterruptedly with that pace and intensity. However, it is important to keep in mind that a recent survey conducted by FONDAZIONE UCIMU and EUMETRA shows that only 50% of the Italian metalworking and engineering enterprises made investments in the period between the year 2017 and the first part of 2018.”
“For this reason – went on Massimo Carboniero – it would be necessary to continue on the way already traced by innovation, thus confirming, also for 2019, the measures that have worked well till now”.
“In this moment of big debate regarding the provisions that will be included in the Budget Law 2019, we welcome the confirmation of Hyper-Depreciation organised in brackets, in favour of the SMEs: a higher coefficient for small investments, decreasing as the value of new purchases increases. The re-financing of the New Sabatini Law is also positive”.
“On the contrary, in our opinion, the decision to eliminate Super-Depreciation – an instrument stimulating the enterprises, and in particular the SMEs, to replace obsolete machinery, thus ensuring the Italian manufacturing industry higher productivity, efficiency and safety – and to replace it with “MINI IRES” (reduced Corporate Income Tax) is a mistake for which the Italian industry may pay dearly. Our enterprises must keep on investing to improve their competiveness. We ask the Government authorities to re-introduce Super-Depreciation, maybe with fiscal-deduction rates organised in brackets, as established for the other measures that have already been confirmed. If this weren’t possible, at least it would be necessary to have a review of depreciation coefficients, now dating back to 1988, as they certainly do no longer mirror the update pace required by the market nowadays”.
“With regard to professional education and training, the Government authorities have already partially changed their minds, by introducing the so-called Incentive for Professional Education and Training 4.0 in the Budget Law 2019, whose field of application however remains the same as it is currently provided for: only the cost for the employees involved in the professional education and training 4.0. If we can agree on a bracket system in favour of the SMEs, we would like to reaffirm the necessity to amend the provision by extending the tax credit also to the costs of courses and professional trainers employed, which represents the heaviest expense for the SMEs”.
“All important technical details about the Budget Law aside – concluded Massimo Carboniero – what we hope is that the Government will go on having a dialogue with enterprises and sectorial organisations. We hope that the meeting of yesterday may be the first of a long series of open exchange of views, in full respect of roles and parties. As machine tool entrepreneurs, we are ready to give our contribution and we are sure to represent an important part of our country: not only a leading sector in the international scenario, but also and, most of all, an industry that ensures stable employment, while providing interesting opportunities for professional growth to those who enter the work world for the first time”.