In 2017, the sales of the Italian industry of capital goods amounted to 46.6 billion euro, showing a 9.7% increase compared with the previous year. The outcome was mainly due to the excellent performance of deliveries in the domestic market, driven by the lively demand for investment goods. Exports registered a more moderate rise.

Positive prospects for 2018 also thanks to the provisions included in the National Plan “Enterprise 4.0”.

This is the situation based on the final balance data presented by Sandro Salmoiraghi, President of FEDERMACCHINE, this afternoon during the Annual Meeting of the Federation of Italian Manufacturers of capital goods, which also hosted the meeting with Enrico Letta, President of the Italy-Asean Association.

In particular, based on the data processed by the Working Group on Statistics of FEDERMACCHINE, the turnover of the Italian manufacturing industry of capital goods grew by 9.7%, to 46.6 billion euro. Compared with 2016, all 13 sectors of FEDERMACCHINE reported an increase in their turnover.

Supported by the Super- and Hyper-Depreciation incentive provisions, domestic consumption went up by 11.6%, to 24 billion euro. To benefit from this situation were mostly the deliveries of Italian manufacturers in the domestic market, grown by 14.3%, to 14.9 billion euro. A positive trend was highlighted also with regard to imports, reaching a value of 9.2 billion euro, i.e. 7.6% more versus 2016.

After a rather stagnant 2016, in 2017 exports started again to rise considerably, marking a +7.6% compared with the previous year, corresponding to 31.8 billion euro. The main destination markets for the Italian offering were: Germany (3.4 billion euro, +8.1%), United States (3 billion euro, +2.6%), China (2.1 billion euro, +14%), France (2.1 billion euro, +5.5%) and Spain (1.3 billion euro, +7.6%).

With particular reference to the Asean area, over the last four years, Italian exports registered an almost constant upturn trend. In 2017 the sales in the area totalled 1.1 billion euro, i.e. 6.3% more versus 2016, but even 20% more compared with the value recorded in 2013.

A special approach should be used with regard to the export/turnover data, accounting for 68%, thus showing a further decrease compared with the previous year, when it stood at 69%. The reduction registered since 2014 is a testimony to the strength recovery of Italian demand, which has finally resumed investing in production technology.

The total outcome of the sectors represented by FEDERMACCHINE was positive, amounting to 22.6 billion euro (+7.7% compared with the previous year).

In particular, the trade balance showed a surplus of 47.3 billion euro. Of the three active sectors (Clothing & Furnishings, Mechanical industry, other manufactured products), the sector of mechanical machines and devices, including the whole industry of capital goods represented by FEDERMACCHINE, is the one that provided the highest contribution (50.7 billion euro) to the Italian trade balance.

Even the year 2018 will be positive for the sector, as evidenced in the forecasts processed by the Working Group on Statistics of FEDERMACCHINE. Turnover will grow by 5.8%, to 49 billion euro. Exports will go up by 5%, to 33.3 billion euro. Consumption will attain about 26 billion euro, i.e. 7.1% more versus 2017, mostly driving domestic deliveries that will increase by 7.5% to 16 billion euro. However, imports will also rise by 6.4%, to 9.8 billion euro.

“The recovery of the domestic market – pointed out Sandro Salmoiraghi, President of FEDERMACCHINE – proves that the Super- and Hyper-Depreciation provisions have been working well, but if we wish to keep on playing a leading role in the international scenario, we can’t stop just now. We have to step on the throttle of innovation”.

Recent surveys conducted by important research and consulting institutes show that, over the last years, the credit applications addressed by the SMEs to the banks have strongly decreased. This is a further indicator of the health improvement of our manufacturing industry. Also based on these indications, we ask our Government authorities to grant us the best conditions to work well. Industry and Enterprise 4.0 helped us a lot, but if they are extended, they can even more contribute to new, necessary developments and upgrades of the Italian manufacturing fabric”.

Small- and mid-sized enterprises need time to evaluate and start investments. This applies even more to Industry 4.0 that implies real organization revolutions. For this reason – stated President Salmoiraghi – we ask to extend the effectivity of the Super- and Hyper-Depreciation provisions, maybe adjusting the coefficients, but leaving enough time for the enterprises to make their purchase decisions. In addition, in the long term, Super-Depreciation should become structural to accompany all Italian enterprises in a process of constant and periodical upgrade. If this were not possible, we ask to introduce at least a system of free depreciations, also because coefficients have not been modified since 1988 and they certainly do no longer mirror the pace of renovation required by the market today”.

Moreover, it is necessary to accompany this introduction of new technologies with an equal commitment focused on the real resource of enterprises: people. So we ask to improve the provision dedicated to professional education and training, as defined in the Plan “Enterprise 4.0”. In our opinion, the 40% tax credit, currently applied only to the work cost of the employees involved in professional education and training, should also be extended to the cost of courses and of required trainers, which is usually the heaviest expense for the SMEs”.

We must incentivize the enterprises to update the skills of their staff, but we also have to encourage the entry of new resources into the enterprises. Therefore, the work should continue on ITS, the institutes of high-technical education and training after the high-school diploma, whose geographical presence should become more widespread”.

We need a context that could ease the access of young people to the labour market as much as possible and that could allow the enterprises to invest in new resources with the right peace of mind. To encourage the enterprises to take on new employees and offer them open-ended contracts, it is necessary to intervene on the reduction of tax wedge, with full tax abolition and social contributions relief for the first years of employment and certainly not with the elimination of fixed-term contracts and the revision in the field of tax litigations that will create new, additional bureaucracy for enterprises”.

The positive trend expected for 2018 will increase employment in our sector, which will go up to 193,000 employees (+0.7%). This is just to say that employment grows when there is work; work cannot be created in a different way”.

On the foreign front, the growing complexity of the context makes the economic competition increasingly difficult and fierce year by year, also complicated by the protectionist attitude of the big economic world powers: United States, Russia, China and United Kingdom, all of them among the destination markets for our product offering. In addition, unfortunately, mistrust is growing even within European countries”.

We, the Italian manufacturers of capital goods, travel far and wide, going from a time-zone to another. We need to have our house not only in Italy, but also in Europe. We need a free and open market, more than before, and a strong European Union for a strong Italy. In this sense, the reasoning on the relocations included in the “Dignity Decree”, which we hope will be amended by Parliament, appears to be a dangerous deterrent for those who intend to develop their business. First of all, because it could clearly discourage new foreign investments in Italy. Secondly, because the decree does not distinguish between relocation and internationalization with the due precision. One thing is the complete shutdown of a production activity in Italy, with a consequent loss of employment, due to its transfer to a country where conditions and costs are more favourable. A different thing is the transfer of a production part or even the opening of production facilities by Italian enterprises in other countries, without affecting the employment in Italy. These last operations should be incentivised, certainly not penalised”.

Source:via Ucimu via Federmacchine

More information:

On Federmacchine official site

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