Machine tool sector faces up to a complicated 2012 with determination
Last modified 14-05-2012
• An irregular 2011 with ups and downs for firms, ends with positive overall figures.
• Acceptable performance in the first quarter based mainly on foreign markets.
The machine tool and manufacturing technologies sector which includes manufacturers of machine tools, accessories, component parts and tools concluded a complicated, irregular 2011 with positive figures.
José Ignacio Torrecilla, Chairman of AFM Advanced Manufacturing Technologies declared: “In spite of the year beginning with good expectations and orders coming in at a good level, the last part of the year was affected by uncertainty. So we couldn’t achieve the figures we had hoped for and the panorama we see for 2012 is full of question marks.”
In any case, the manufacturing technologies sector as a whole saw turnover rise by 22.7%, with an overall figure totalling €1.25bn.
Turnover for machine tools totalled €771.3m, 22.1% up on the previous year. The figure for component parts accessories and tools was €320.4m, a rise of 10.8%, and other machines and technologies posted €180.3m, which was 56.3% up on 2010.
Exports accounted for more than 80% of the total figures for the sector, and in the case of machine tools amounted to a striking 90.1% of turnover.
Mr Torrecilla added: “The lack of demand from the domestic market affected these figures, but obviously it is our international competitiveness that spurred us on to our second best ever sales figures abroad. With part of the demand moving from Europe to America and, above all, Asia, the effort required is much greater and maintaining margins that enable us to invest in improvements is fundamental”.
By markets, the movement of demand towards Asia is clearer in the case of machine tools in particular. As far as component parts and accessories are concerned, which a priori account for a greater percentage of exports to Europe, it is clear that they are travelling more frequently to these other markets fitted in the machines.
In 2011, for the first time in our history China was the leading market for machine tools with exports worth €108.4m (15.6%). The next four markets in the ranking were Germany with €105.7m (15.2%), Mexico with €49.3m (7.1%), India with €39.9m€ (5.7%) and France with €37.8m (5.4%).
With regard to 2012, performance during the first quarter has been unexpectedly normal, although the high level of uncertainty in the markets and client sectors is of concern to the firms in the sector.
“We have started the year with apparent normality, but all the information we have from our market research points to a slight slowdown in world growth which is predicted to reverse in the second half of the year”, maintained the AFM Chairman.