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Italian foundry industry faces tough challenges in 2012

Tuesday, 29 May 2012 17:28:50 (GMT+2)   -  

Tags: Italy , Europe , opinion , steelmaking , European Union , Mediterranean | similar articles » SteelOrbis News

During its annual meeting, the Italian foundry industry association Assofond reviewed the performance of the sector in 2011 and gave its outlook for the current year.

In 2011, Italy's foundry industry maintained the positive momentum it achieved in 2010. The Italian national output of ferrous metal castings amounted to 1,236,229 mt in 2011, up 12 percent year on year, putting Italy in second position in Europe in terms of output, behind Germany but above France. Last year, the number of ferrous metal foundries in Italy decreased from 200 to 197, while the number of direct employees rose slightly from 14,123 to 14,340 units. As regards the sales revenues of Italian foundries, the total figure (for both ferrous and non-ferrous metal castings) increased by 20 percent year on year.

The forecasts for the Italian foundry industry are discouraging for the current year, as the main industrial customers (primarily the automotive and mechanical sectors) are facing a decrease in sales. According to Assofond, the main challenges for the Italian foundry industry in the current year include the high costs of raw materials (despite the recent downtrend) and the increases in electricity supply charges, which are squeezing domestic foundries' profit margins, thereby reducing their competitiveness compared to their European counterparts. About 80 percent of Italy's casting exports are directed to the EU markets. In this environment, Assofond predicts that "the contribution of foreign demand should be positive this year, but not enough to offset the stagnation of domestic demand."

In his speech, Assofond chairman Enrico Frigerio stressed the necessity for a new plan by the Italian government in relation to industry and energy. He added, "We need a project that puts manufacturing in first place, not only in words but also in actual deeds."

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