The seemingly unstoppable growth of the Italian packaging machinery industry has suffered a temporary setback. According to the preliminary figures compiled by MECS-Ucima (Italian Packaging Machinery Manufacturers’ Association) Research Department, the sector will register an overall turnover of EUR 7,639 million (approximately Rs 68,593 crore) in 2020, 5% down on the result recorded in 2019.
This figure is hardly a surprise given the severe difficulties faced by the industry this year amid a combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and a global economic slowdown. Although several key client sectors posted strong performances (including Food & Beverage, Pharma, and Home & Personal Care), these only mitigated the industry-wide year-end losses.
Specifically, the Italian packaging machinery manufacturers’ domestic sales fell by 6.8% to EUR 1,574 million (approximately Rs 14,133 crore), while exports, which have always been the primary source of sales for the sector, experienced a 4.5% year-on-year loss to EUR 6,065 million (approximately Rs 54,460 crore).
“We were expecting this slowdown, but our sector remains robust and is looking to the future with confidence,” commented Ucima’s chairman Matteo Gentili. “We were well prepared for the Covid emergency and have demonstrated our strength in the face of adversity. Our Industry 4.0 technologies allowing for remote plant control, testing, and service have enabled us to keep in close touch with our customers worldwide. We are cautiously optimistic about a return to growth in 2021 while being aware of the strength of our competitors and the uncertainty that the pandemic is continuing to cause in many markets.”
The launch of the National Industry 4.0 Plan involving an investment of around EUR 24 billion by the Italian government will play an important role in promoting investment in new technologies. Ucima welcomes this measure, which will boost and speed up tax relief for companies.