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Higher production of machine tools robots and automation systems

(+5%). But forecasts for 2009 are not positive. Giancarlo Losma: “Total deduction of interest payable in the financial year, de-taxation of profits re-invested in high technology assets and liberalisation of depreciation/amortisation: these are some of the actions that Italian manufacturers request to the government authorities”

Positive results in the financial statement for the Italian machine tool, robot and automation industry that in 2008 saw growth in all main economic indicators. Nevertheless, a reversal in this trend is envisaged for 2009, although the downturn in production is not currently viewed as a matter for concern.

This emerged this morning during the year end press conference organised by UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE, the Italian association of manufacturers of machine tools, robots, automation systems and auxiliary products.

Analysis of summary data for 2008 prepared by the Studies Dept. of UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE highlights an increase in production by Italy in this sector – improving by 5% compared to the previous year to achieve 6,110 million euro.

This result was achieved thanks to positive response for machinery manufacturers on the domestic market and good trends as regards export activity.

Up by 7% compared to the previous year, exports came to 3,320 million euro, sustained by demand on traditional outlet markets for 'made by Italians' in the sector and growing demand on emerging markets.

ISTAT data for the first nine months of the year indicate that exports of machine tools alone grew by 9.5% compared to January-September 2007. Good results were seen on traditional outlet markets and sales improved in: Germany (+12.9%), China (+9.4%), United States (+7.7%), France (+10.1%); only Spain saw a disappointing result (-14.8%).

Excellent results were seen for deliveries of 'made by Italians' in Russia (+25.2%), Brazil (+140.3%) and Austria (+84.7%); sales were substantially stable in India (-0.7%).

The domestic market saw growth in consumption to 4,553 millions (+4.8% compared to the previous year), positively marked by trends in deliveries by Italian manufacturers which, thanks to an increase of 2.7%, achieved a quota of 2,790 million euro.

The balance of trade improved by 5.6% to 1,557 million euro.

The outline for 2009 is of course different and inevitably affected by the negative market and economic situation. Estimates suggest that production by Italian industry in the sector will fall back by 6.4% to 5,720 million euro. It is expected that exports will drop by 5.7% and settle at a quota of 3,130 millions.

With reference to the domestic market, the envisaged drop in consumption (down by 12.3% to 3,995 millions) will hit imports very hard (-20.3%). Italian manufacturers, on the other, will prove capable of containing such losses; deliveries on the domestic market, in short, will only drop by 7.2%.

Giancarlo Losma, President of UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE, said: “data processed by our Studie Department undoubtedly highlight a downturn in sector trends. While facts and figures for 2008 are still positive, growth estimated by this preliminary data is in any case lower than expected even only a few months ago, a sign that the crisis has already generated its first effects. However, the aspect that most concerns Italian manufacturers focuses on forecasts for the future which envisage a block of investments in assets”.

“In order to overcome this eventuality, which would have a truly negative impact on the entire production sector of the country, we demand immediate action for government authorities to support companies in the sector. In short, we have seen that the budget now being defined does not envisage any action to promote the Italian engineering industry.
“In particular,” the President of UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE went on, “Italian manufacturers of production systems demand the implementation of total deduction of interest payable in the financial year and the revaluation of company assets, be they tangible or intangible, with fiscal neutrality of surpluses”.

“In any case, since technological innovation is the strategic variable of 'made by Italians' in this sector, we again emphasise the need for a structural device for de-taxation of profits re-invested in high technology assets”.

“All the more, manufacturers demand the immediate implementation of the liberalisation system for depreciation/amortisation of high technology assets (as per Article 5 of Law n.317/91) purchased in the six months after the issue of the disposition and delivered within twenty four months of the same date. Such action would see taxation costs come close to zero in a sufficiently rapid period – yet,” as Giancarlo Losma added, “the increase in IRES, arising from advance orders and consequently advance deliveries, should be higher than the decrease in fiscal income following liberalisation of depreciation/amortisation”.

“The inclusion and implementation of these actions in the budget would clearly demonstrate the attention of the government towards one of the sectors – capital goods – which is vital for updating the production system of the country”.

“The American government seems to be well aware of this aspect, since it recently adopted measures to support operators in high technology production industries: from the law ensuring economic incentives envisaging significant fiscal deductions for purchases of equipment and machinery, to the introduction of special depreciation systems through to the decision to activate state equity holdings in companies in the field”.

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