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In the sauce

Bolognese sauce, that is, as Euromap, the trade group representing European Plastics and Rubber Machinery manufacturers, invited members and some journalists last Thursday and Friday to the Italian city of Bologna to discuss new safety and technical standards, other issues, and mostly to chat on the state of the industry. The food was delicious; the state of the industry unfortunately proved less than appetizing.

In short, 2007 was a great year for the group’s members, who account for about a 55% share of global plastics machinery and molds exports. Last year they saw demand for their products increase by 8% versus 2006, to more than euro 10 billion. With orders from last year still being completed, this year actually should top the 2007 figures, with Bernhard Merki, Euromap president (and also CEO at molding machine maker Netstal), saying the group’s members expect another 5% or so increase in overall production. 

But of course all good things come to an end, and the group’s streak of very positive news also has run its course. Orders are slowing, dramatically in some cases, and the trade group says it expects production of primary processing machinery, the largest category in its production figures, to fall by 3-5% in 2009. That, at least, was the official line. Off the record, executives at the meeting from some member companies said they expect demand to drop by 10-20% in 2009, based on the current orders outlook. In their defense, Euromap officials did caution that their prediction was formulated in July, before the global financial industry started to fall apart. More than one Euromap representative and other officials at the meeting were heard to say something along the lines of, “It is easier to predict what the market will look like in five years than it is to predict where we’ll be in four weeks.” —[email protected]

 
TAGS: Business
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