Confindustria Ceramica

09   Giugno   2015

Ceramics 2014

The Italian ceramic industry posted a turnover of 5.7 billion euros in 2014 including 75% exports, generated by 223 companies with 26,000 employees. Sales of ceramic tiles produced in Italy topped 4.9 billion euros (+4%): exports reached a record 4.1 billion euros (+6.2%) while the domestic market continues to stagnate, falling back to 804 million euros

According to the statistical surveys on the Italian ceramic industry unveiled during the 2015 Confindustria Ceramica Members’ Meeting, the 223 ceramic tile, sanitaryware, tableware and refractory materials manufacturing companies in business in 2014 employed a workforce of 25,598 people and reported a total turnover of 5,687 billion euros, 75% of which was generated by exports.

Ceramic tiles produced in Italy.
In 2014 there were a total of 150 ceramic tile manufacturers operating in Italy (6 fewer than in 2013). These companies employed a workforce of 19,430 people (-5.4%), produced 381.7 million square metres of tiles (+5%) and posted sales of 394.6 million square metres (+1.3%). Sales in Italy fell by a further 6.6% to 80.8 million square metres, while the balance of trade further improved in volume terms (298.6 million square metres) as a result of 3.63% growth in exports to 313.7 million square metres. The total turnover of 4.91 billion euros (+4%) consisted of 4.11 billion euros from exports (which grew by 6.2% and reached a record share of 83.6%) and 804 million euros from domestic Italian sales (-6.1%). Investments reached the highest figure since 2008 at 286.2 million euros (27% up on 2013, a year in which they fell by 12%), with a value of close to 6% of annual turnover. A further 250 million euros of investments are anticipated in the current year (10% up on 2014).

Internationalisation of production.
In 2014 there were a total of 16 Italian-owned companies operating outside Italy. Controlled by nine Italian ceramic groups, these companies employed 3,062 people and produced 76.7 million square metres of tiles. Total turnover amounted to 715.5 million euros, of which 443.9 million euros (62%) derived from operations in Europe and the rest from business in North America. 80.1% of this turnover was generated by sales in the same country as the factory and the rest from exports within the same continent.

Ceramic sanitaryware.  
There were a total of 29 ceramic sanitaryware manufacturers operating in Italy in 2014, of which 26 are located in the Civita Castellana area (province of Viterbo). The industry employs a total workforce of 3,377 people. Production totalled 3.8 million pieces (-1.6%), including 3.7 million pieces (+1.1%) produced in the 33 Italian factories.
Turnover totalled 317.2 million euros (+2.87%), with investments amounting to 16.5 million euros, more than 5% of annual turnover.

The refractory materials industry.
The 35 companies producing refractory materials in Italy employed 2,129 people in 2014 (4 more than in 2013) and reported a production of 423,455 tons (+0.5%) and sales of 433,970 tons (-2%). Domestic sales totalled 283,697 tons (+1.4%), corresponding to 65% of total sales volumes. The total turnover of 410.8 million euros (+4.6%) consisted of 266.8 million euros from domestic Italian sales (+12%), 80.1 million euros from exports within the EU (-12.66%) and 63.9 million euros from exports outside the EU (+1.82%).

Ceramic tableware.

The 9 industrial-level Italian companies operating in the sector employed a total of 662 people and reported production and sales volumes in excess of 13,000 tons of finished product. Domestic sales made up about 80% of the total. The 2014 turnover stood at more than 45 million euros, about 70% of which was generated in Italy. One particularly important development was the introduction in May 2013 of antidumping measures on imports of Chinese tableware to Europe, which will result in duties of between 13.1% and 36.1% being applied to Chinese imports over the next 5 years. This measure led to a further fall of more than 28.8% in 2014 following the 40% drop reported in 2012.

The 2015 forecasts for the ceramic tile industry

According to the latest forecasts made at the end of May by the Confindustria Ceramica – Prometeia Forecasting Report and unveiled at the Association’s Annual Meeting, the Italian ceramic tile industry is expected to emerge from the crisis this year (1% growth in total sales) and then show rapid growth in 2016 (+3.2%). The forecasts for 2015 point to 1.1% growth in production, equivalent to the figure for total sales. Once again the sales figure concealed two contrasting trends: a growth in exports (+1.7%) but a downturn in the domestic market (-1,6%, the smallest fall since 2008). The strongest foreign markets are the Gulf states (+10.5%), the NAFTA region (+4.6%), North Africa and the Middle East (+4.1%) and Latin America (+3.3%). Western Europe is stable (+0.8%) whereas difficulties persist in Central and Eastern Europe (-3.5%), which continues to be affected by the Russian crisis.
Much better performances are expected in 2016 with sales and production both projected to exceed +3%. The domestic market will finally return to positive territory (+0.3%) and foreign sales (+4% overall) will grow at above-average rates in the Gulf states (+9.1%), the NAFTA region (+6.8%), North Africa and the Middle East (+5.5%), and the Far East (+5%). Sales in Western and Eastern Europe will grow respectively by around +2.6% / +2.7%.