Italian ceramic industry saved by exports
(Source: Ceramic World Web)
According to Confindustria Ceramica's annual statistical survey unveiled on 11 June, 2012 was another tough year for the Italian ceramic tile, sanitaryware, tableware and refractories industries, partially offset only by the excellent results of the 20 Italian-owned ceramic tile companies operating abroad. Overall the sector reported a turnover of 6.6 billion euro, stable at 2011 levels, 75% of which was generated by exports. The workforce fell to 35,801 (1,257 fewer workers than in 2011), while the number of operational companies dropped to 265 (8 fewer than in 2011). All four segments saw a fall in sales in the Italian domestic market, and only the tile sector experienced growth in exports.
The ceramic tile industry
At the end of 2012 there were a total of 159 ceramic tile producers operating in Italy (4 fewer than in 2011), with a total workforce of 21,355 (-3.7%) and an output of 367.2 million square metres (-8.3%). Sales fell to 382.2 million square metres (-7.5%) as the combined result of an 18.9% drop in domestic sales, down from 114.9 million sq.m in 2011 to 93.2 million sq.m in 2012, and a much smaller contraction in exports (-3.1%), which fell to 289 million sq.m. In terms of value, domestic sales fell by 19.8% to 919 million euro, while the increase in average export selling price brought export turnover into positive territory at 3.66 billion euro (up 2.6% on 2011). Total turnover was 4.58 billion euro (-2.8%). Investments in innovation remained strong, marking up further 2.8% growth over 2011 to reach 255.5 million euro (more than 5.5% of annual turnover).
Excellent results for Italian-owned companies operating abroad
The results of the tile manufacturers operating in Italy were offset by the outstanding performances of companies located abroad (North America and Europe) but controlled by Italian ceramic groups. The 20 manufacturing operations located abroad employed 7,500 people and produced a total of 139.6 million square metres (14.7% up on 2011), generating sales of 141.5 million sq.m (+11.1%). The process of internationalising manufacturing operations to serve local markets continued. A total of 116.1 million square metres was sold in the country of production, accounting for 82% of the total, while 25.4 million sq.m was exported to third countries (+17.6%). The 2012 turnovers of the 20 foreign companies totalled 1,195 million euro (+14.3%), of which 983.4 million euro consisted of domestic sales (+13.4%) and 211.7 million euro exports (+18.73%).
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