Machine builders are looking to the future with optimism but are suffering from a slack Italian domestic market and, abroad, the weakness of the Italian System. Which is why Acimga is multiplying and diversifying its undertakings in support of exports, from the ACIMGA@ collective to “promotional cocktails”.

Acimga is developing a new approach to internationalisation and is accelerating its ACIMGA@ projects. The Italian print and converting machine builders’ association is working on the coordination of “collectives” of exhibitors to preside a selected series of packaging and plastics fairs. In this type of event in fact, the associates not only encounter the visiting public but also the other exhibitors who indeed are the users of their machines. Hence the Acimga member company is guaranteed double visibility with the optimisation of an investment that prospects a particularly advantageous contact cost.
As well as the impending Düsseldorf Interpack (8th-14th May), this year ACIMGA@ will be going to Kenya (East Afripack, Nairobi, 9th-12th September), Turkey (Eurasia Packaging, Istanbul, 18th-21st September) and Indonesia (Proplas Indonesia, Jakarta, 19th-22nd November).

On the other hand, Acimga has opted a convivial way of networking , April 29th, at the FTA Forum, Baltimore (USA 27-30/4/2014): the Federal Flexography Technical Association Seminar, with accompanying exhibition space, which will be attended by the entire US community interested in packaging printing (flexible packaging, corrugated board, labeling etc.). A not-to-be-missed engagement for Italian producers, for which the USA constitutes the first area of exports of the sector (accounting for around 11% of the total, end of 2013 figures), where the association has chosen the lively and convivial promotion formula of the aperitif.

Trends and export markets
In Italy currently the industrial print machine and paper&board converting sector comprises around 150 concerns, 90% of which small to medium sized, that employ 7,000 people. The last business year closed with a balance of over 2 billion euros, 83% of which made abroad.
The qualitative market study, carried out on a sample that accounts for 82% of total Acimga associate turnover, highlights the importance of the sector. In the last quarter of 2013 48% of interviewees expressed expectations of growth and 40% stability; in the first three months of 2014 those predicting stability prevail (48% of interviewees) but the gap between those expecting growth (32%) and those expecting a drop (20%) is still large. And the forecasts have been supported by the dynamics of foreign orders that, having closed 2013 in consolidation, in the first quarter of 2014 prospect stability for 48% of operators, with a net majority of those prospecting an upturn (32%).
For the coming months – Acimga’s analysts estimate – the international scenarios is aboveall seen to be interesting in the Far East, in the Middle East (for example Iran) and in the USA, currently in a recovery phase, while compared to the recent past things appear less promising in the South American countries.

Strong sector, strong competitors
The dynamics of exports continue to shore up the criticalities of an Italian domestic market, held back by the liquidity crisis and by the consequent prudence of investor companies. At a standstill even in the last part of the year (stable for 46% of the companies, with remaining shares equally distributed between increase and drop), the forecasts for the first quarter of 2014 see the optimists slightly ahead, and in orders too pronouncements are positive. Furthermore, for nearly 80% of the sample the employment levels will remain stable. «Our companies are reactive to the difficulties and strongly present on the international markets – Acimga president Marco Calcagni comments – and the survey results confirm this. We cannot though overlook important signs like the stagnation on the Italian domestic market, made worse by a liquidity crisis that the banks are doing little to alleviate.
What is more one has to look more attentively at the international scenario, where competition is getting ever tougher. The German producers are gaining ground on us, accompanied abroad by a banking and financial system more efficient than our own: a factor that, combined with the over-evaluation of the euro against the dollar, should make us reflect on the need for a greater and more effective support of the “Italian system” abroad».    

The publication continues. The digital book “Acimga Story: from the origins to the pocket multinationals” tells, through the history of the sector entrepreneurial association, of the past and the present of the men and women and the technologies that have made the Italian print and converting machine industry what it is today. The main stages from the foundation in 1947 to the end of the seventies are partially already online on In the second part of the work – that covers the period from the Depetris presidency till today – tackles alliance with Ucima along with the birth of the Entrexpo-Ipack Ima pole, of the new and original undertakings in support of the policy of internationalisation to the forming of the sector alliance with Federgrafica, up until the creation of the “young entrepreneurs’ group” and much more.