Italy rising again

By Sandy Guthrie29 October 2014

Paolo Venturi, president of Unacea

Paolo Venturi, president of Unacea

Construction in Italy is looking up as equipment sales in the country rose 12% in the first nine months of 2014, and the Italian Minister of Infrastructure & Transport has approved 15 major infrastructure projects worth nearly €1.7 billion.

According to trade association Unacea, construction equipment sold in the Italian market totalled 4,479 units over the first nine months of 2014, an increase of 12% compared to the same period in 2013. This consisted of 4,403 earthmoving machines – a rise of 11% over the same period last year – and 76 road machines –up 17%.

Paolo Venturi, president of Unacea, said that despite the data for the first nine months, he did not want to be too optimistic.

“It is true that from one side we probably reached the lowest point of the cycle in 2013, but we are still experiencing a loss of more than 80% compared with the 2007 level.

“Moreover, the ratio between the results of the fourth and third quarter shows a growth of only 4%, with an evident decline relative to what we have seen at the beginning of the year.”

In the first seven months of the year, according to the data from the Italian Institute for Statistics processed by Unacea, exports of Italian construction equipment reached €1,397 million, representing a drop of 7% year-on-year.

The most significant reduction has affected drilling machines, down 37%. Exports of concrete equipment fell 7% and road machines 5%. Earthmoving machines were down just 1%, while there was 10% growth in the export of tower cranes, and crushing and screening equipment was up 8%.

Imports grew 22%, with a value of more than €280 million. Unacea said the trade balance was still positive at more than €1,113 million, despite a decrease of 12% compared with the same period of last year.

Meanwhile, Maurizio Lupi, Italy’s Minister of Infrastructure & Transport, has approved 15 projects worth €1,664 million as part of the €3.9 billion Sblocca-Italia (Unlock-Italy) programme. Of the approved projects, €335 million-worth must be working on site by the end of the year, and a further €1.33 million by the end of June next year.

The projects to start this year include the Venice to Trieste motorway and a railway passing through Turin.

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