It claims it set an all-time record of €6.2bn for sales in 2014 (+3.3%), including €5.1bn generated from exports. However, the forecast for 2015 is lower.
'The outlook is cautious'
Giuseppe Lesce, chairman, Ucima, told FoodProductionDaily after years of steady growth, ‘we have seen a small slowdown in orders in our key geographical markets in recent months’.
"The outlook for the coming year is very cautious, particular given the uncertainly caused by the social and political unrest and the economic downturn in a number of key markets,” he said.
According to figures published by the Statistics Department of Ucima, the first nine months of the year, last year, were dominated by three importer countries; the US, China and France.
The domestic market also performed strongly with 9% growth (approximately €1,100m). This was largely due to tax concessions on the purchase of capital goods offered by Sabatini Bis law.
“Our sector has always been strongly export oriented. More than 80% of our turnover is currently generated in international markets (a share that increases significantly with company size). In 2013, export turnover amounted to €5bn out of a total of €6bn,” added Lesce.
Middle East, Turkey, Pakistan, India & Southeast Asia
“Our major markets are currently the US, China, France, Germany, Russia and Brazil. Considering larger geographical areas, our largest export market is the European Union with 33% of the total. Next is Asia with 24% (and rising), then Central & South America with 12%, non-EU Europe with 11%, North America with 10%, and other regions with a further 10%.
“As for the most promising markets, the situation has varied considerably over the last 10 years. The African continent – most notably Nigeria – is growing rapidly, while other burgeoning markets include the Middle East, Turkey, Pakistan, India and Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam and Indonesia."
Lesce said to counteract political unrest and the economic downturn in a number of key markets, in the last three years the association has been providing professional services tailored to the specific needs of companies operating in the packaging machinery sector.
It integrated its operations with the national trade association, Acimac (Italian Ceramic Machinery and Equipment Manufacturers’ Association) and it has launched various services for companies including technical services, education, promotion and internationalisation.
It has also expanded the work of the Statistics Department, which conducts market surveys and statistical studies for its member companies.
It also recently extended its range of offerings by launching a communication services and concessional finance support.
“We have also resumed numerous association working groups, which offer valuable opportunities for companies to share experiences and assessments of the state of the sector and address problems or common needs.” He added.
Asia, Propak Vietnam
Ucima offers its member companies a range of services for promoting exports. This involves improving knowledge of target markets through in-depth studies, participation in exhibitions and conferences abroad, strengthening contacts with customers by taking part in trade fairs in Italy, organising incoming missions for foreign buyers and promoting the sector as a whole.
This year, it will be present in Asia for Propak Vietnam, Propak Asia, Propak China, China Pharm and All Pack. In Africa, it plans to take part in Propak East Africa, Propak West Africa, Djazagro, Afro Packaging and Pharmaconex. In North America it will be at Pack Expo Las Vegas and Expo Pack Mexico, and in South America at Fispal Tecnologia.
“One of our association’s key aims in recent years has been to support the sector’s Italian trade fairs, focusing in particular on vertical exhibitions devoted to a specific product sector, such as food, beverage, pharmaceutics and cosmetics,” added Lesce.
“For this reason, we launched the exhibition Food Pack, which is held concurrently with Cibus Tec in late October. Cibus Tec is a long-running trade fair for food processing technology held at the Parma exhibition centre.
“The addition of Food Pack expanded and injected new life into the event, and we are looking to secure similar agreements in coming months with other major Italian exhibitions in the other product sectors.
"Our goal is to give our companies the opportunity to meet their international customers in Italy and to showcase their technology, while at the same time, promoting our customer-focused business culture and our commitment to our country."