VDMA forecasts sales growth, recovery in 2013

THE half-yearly trend survey among members of the German plastics and rubber machinery association (VDMA) indicated an improved demand for plastics and rubber machinery in the second half of the year compared with the previous six months.

Respondents anticipate for growth in orders in the first half of 2013 but with reservations about the status of the markets in Western Europe. “For 2013, the year of the next K trade fair, the Association predicts sales growth of 3%,” said Ulrich Reifenhäuser, chairperson of the VDMA.

Meanwhile the local industry manufacturers bet on a 6% sales growth in 2012, and the resulting sales volume in core machinery manufacturing reaching a new record of over EUR6.5 billion.

The year-end result is beyond the association’s target, according to Reifenhäuser. “At the midpoint of the year we were still anticipating a slight decline in sales for 2012 (down 2%), while predicting a fairly strong recovery in 2013,” he said.

According to Thorsten Kühmann, Managing Director of VDMA, the pace of the incoming orders, although they lagged behind by 12% from the previous year have eventually caught on over the last few months to the final quarter of 2012 when the orders matched the previous year’s level. “In an end-of-year survey only one fifth of respondents from the Association complained of production problems owing to a lack of or insufficient orders,” he added.

Deliveries to other countries likewise increased. By November 2012 they were 3.1% higher than the previous year; and exports are set to reach a new record of some EUR4.4 billion euro. “We are witnessing a revival of traditional markets – with German manufacturers experiencing above-average growth in the US and even in the EU, where Poland has become the largest market. In Southeast Asia, Thailand and Indonesia in particular are conspicuous for their high levels of growth, whereas sales to China and India are on the decline,” said Reifenhäuser.

As for the labour sector, more than half of the plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers have opened new jobs at their plants in Germany in the second half of 2012; and in the first half of the year the corresponding figure was as high as 65%.

With the current half-year, more than a third of respondents (38%) are expecting to employ more staff; and some 40% of firms are maintaining their current size.


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