Italy's Unione Nazionale Aziende Construction Equipment & Attachments (UNACEA).

Italy's Unione Nazionale Aziende Construction Equipment & Attachments (UNACEA).

The Italian earthmoving machinery industry has benefited little from incentives passed by the Italian government last spring for industrial sectors in crisis, according to new Italian construction equipment association Unacea, which is asking its government not to discriminate against the sector.

It said that the market had collapsed by 50% over the past two years, from around 30000 units sold in 2007 to 15000 in 2009. It added that after a short recovery in June as a result of the last purchases encouraged by tax breaks, the downturn continued with sales drops between 15 and 30% in the main product lines.

According to Unacea, the main obstacle to the use of incentives for the purchase of earthmoving machines is the fact that the sector has been coupled with the agricultural machinery sector. As this has a completely different distribution structure, this sector drained the great majority of the allocated resources, it claimed.

Although the Ministry of Economic Development has not published any official data, Unacea assesses the amount assigned to the earthmoving sector to be about € 1 million, out of an aggregate amount of € 20 million allocated to the agricultural machinery and earthmoving machinery sectors together.

A survey carried out by Unacea and Assodimi - the trade association representing companies that sell, rent and service equipment used in construction, mining, forestry, power generation and industrial applications in Italy - revealed that 82% of the interviewed firms in the sector reported that they didn't use the incentives.

Unacea said, "All things considered, and unless new elements are introduced, it is possible to estimate that the measure has had an impact of only half a percentage point on a market still in crisis."

The Ministry has been contacted again by Unacea, and asked that the measure be refinanced from a part of the resources left unused in other sectors - put at € 124 million - allocating a share of the funds only to earthmoving machines, and raising the set discount from 10% to 20% of the price.

Unacea was set up nine months ago but claims to represent, in terms of production, over two-thirds of the whole earthmoving equipment industry in Italy.

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