Growing order intake in Italy’s WZM industry

Der italienische Werkzeugmaschinenverband blickt auf ein erfreuliches 4. Quartal 2022 zurück. © Ucimu

In the fourth quarter of 2022, the machine tool order index compiled by Centro Studi & Cultura di Impresa of Ucimu – Sistemi per produrre recorded an increase of 3.5% compared to the October-December 2021 period. The absolute index value has leveled off at 133.6 (base 100 in 2015). This is a new record value for the reference quarter.

The result was determined both due to the positive course of orders collected on the foreign market and excellent results on the domestic market. In particular, orders received from abroad increased by 2.4% compared with the same period of the previous year. The absolute index value stands at 103.9.
In the domestic market, the collected orders have recorded an increase of 5.4% with an absolute index value of 257, setting a new historical record.

Barbara Colombo, president of Ucimu – Sistemi per produrre, commented, “This performance – truly satisfactory when compared to the already exceptional result of the fourth quarter of 2021 – is largely the result of accelerated purchasing decisions by users who wanted to complete their investments by the end of 2022 in order to obtain the 40% tax refund entitlement, knowing that – according to government announcements – depreciation should be halved from January 2023.”

On an annual basis, however, the order index shows a decline of -7.8% with an absolute value of 120.1. The decrease is due to the reduction of orders received on the Italian market (-20.8%) with an absolute value of 144.7. On the other hand, foreign orders are growing ( +2.8%), with an absolute value of 115.9.

Barbara Colombo, president of Ucimu - Sistemi per produrre:
Barbara Colombo, president of Ucimu – Sistemi per produrre: “We could not assume that the Italian market would continue to grow at the pace recorded in the last two years.”
© Ficep

Barbara Colombo explained, “However, if we look at the result of new orders for a whole year, it is evident that the fourth quarter flare-up has not been able to compensate for the decline in previous quarters, a decline that is mainly due to the lower level of new orders received by manufacturers in the Italian market compared to the boom year of 2021.”

“On the other hand,” Barbara Colombo continued, “we expected this trend for both the annual index and the last quarter. In particular, with regard to the 12 months 2021, the decline in the domestic market should be considered as a market correction: We could not assume that the Italian market would continue to grow at the pace recorded in the last two years. Nevertheless, demand in our country remains buoyant as the digital transformation process is in full swing.”

“For this reason,” affirmed Barbara Colombo, ” the Measures 4.0, which have been in force for more than five years, must be continued and, if possible, strengthened. Although we understand the government’s decision to prioritize measures to reduce the impact of energy costs on the entire population, businesses and individuals, we reiterate the need to confirm the effectiveness of Measures 4.0 under the conditions foreseen until 2022.”

The president of Ucimu further commented: “In detail, we demand to the measures ‘Transition 4.0’ also for 2023 the maintenance of the tax depreciation of 40%. If no corrective measures are taken, the depreciation will be halved from January 2023, which will only dampen the willingness of Italian users to invest in new production technologies. We cannot take the risk, as the Officina Italia update has certainly started, but much remains to be done. At the same time, we are asking for a three-month delay in the delivery dates (from September 31 to December 31, 2023) of the machines ordered by December 31, 2022 (for which a 20% deposit has been paid). This will absorb delays in the delivery of electrical and electronic components to manufacturers in production.”

Barbara Colombo concluded, “In the medium term, we believe that in addition to the tax refund entitlement for new investments in digital and connected technologies, an additional measure should be provided, also cumulatively applicable, which could translate into a tax refund entitlement for sustainability. This measure should, in our view, support initiatives that lead to the integrated development of new generations of products, taking into account their impact on the environment.”