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An industry back in the black thanks to exports

MILAN – Whether it is machinery for pasta, pizza, ice-cream or espresso-making, refrigeration units, meat processing equipment or cooking paraphernalia, the “Made in Italy” label remains a guarantee of quality and innovationthat that is recognized and appreciated all over the world.

The success of Italian producers is evident in the data not only from ANIMA (the Federation of National Associations of Mechanical Engineering and Related Industries), but also, more specifically, from the Italian Association of Machinery and Equipment for the Production, Processing and Preservation Food (Assofoodtec) and the Association of Italian Manufacturers of Houshold Equipment (FIAC).

In fact, this year the Federation and its associations will be setting up a special lounge to promote the excellence of the Italian mechanical engineering sector among the visitors and buyers at the fair.

Exports form the backbone of the sector, and over the last year a number of countries hitherto scarcely present have emerged as increasingly important destinations, some of them even registering triple-digit growth. Once such case is Ethiopia, to which Italian exports of pasta-making machinery rose by 282%, from €3.5 million in 2013 to €13.5 million in 2014.

Similarly, Libya has seen an increase of 248%, bringing Italian exports to that country to almost €11 million in 2014, compared with just €3 million in 2013.Turkey is another market in continuous growth (exports amounted to more than €22 million in 2014 compared with €12 million in 2013).

Meanwhile, exports to the USA of ovens for baking bread, biscuits, pastry and pizza rose by 70% in 2014 to total around €49 million.

Another area enjoying steady growth is espresso coffee machines. Exports of these to Asia have doubled in percentage terms from 15% of the total in 2010 to 31% in 2014, a year in which sales to South Korea rose by 44% to €28 million, sales to China by 51% to €22 million, sales to Taiwan by 101% to €9 million, and sales to Thailand by 34% to €8 million.

Sales of slicer machines also rose in 2014 and are expected to continue to rise in 2015, thanks to strong export figures (+8.7% in 2014 and +4% forecast for 2015). Likewise, the production of ice-cream makers expanded by 2.6% in 2014 and is expected to expand by 0.9% in 2015, with exports of the same rising by 3.6% in 2014 and by an estimated 2.6% in 2015.

The refrigeration industry, represented by Assofoodtec/ANIMA, consists of manufacturers of: compressors, whose sales are stable, apart from a fall in exports since 2012; industrial refrigeration units, which have registered a small decline both in production and exports; and commercial refrigeration equipment, where the value of production in 2014 increased by 3%, and whose positive trend is continuing in 2015 (+0.7%).

The best performance was in exports to the EU28 (+3.4% in 2014 and +1.2% in 2015).