The editorial staff of Versilia Produce, the information periodical of the Cosmave consortium based in Pietrasanta, interviewed Luca Masiero to delve into the current situation and understand the future prospects of the sector and the stone industry.
You can find the interview in Italian at this link, on page 5.
The 50-year milestone of DELLAS, a leading manufacturer and marketer of diamond tools, is the occasion for a chat with Luca Masiero, export manager. Less and less COVID legacies and growing prospects, for a substantially positive picture of the situation also confirmed by reports from Coverings and Izmir. Comforting news also from the USA, the reference market for the Apuan-Versilian stone sector.
What is the situation at the moment for a market, such as yours, with a strong international vocation?
“The general picture is positive for both stone and ceramic products. Clearly, the year 2022 was characterised by several strategic business decisions to increase and strengthen sales in several countries in Central and South America, given the big drop in Ukraine and Russia due to the war. To date, we can say that the US market, where we had already established ourselves a few years ago with new distributors, and the new strategies in South America made up for the drop in other countries. The same is true for the Asian market where, paradoxically, many countries came out of the COVID emergency between the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 and started working again with continuity”.
2021 saw an increase in the value of Italian exports of machinery, plants, and tools for quarrying and processing natural stone of 18.5 per cent (data: Centro Studi Confindustria Marmomacchine, July 2022). Is this trend confirmed? What is the balance at the close of 2022?
“Absolutely confirmed. The financial year 2022 will have an increase in value of around 15% over 2021. Last year was favourable and beneficial for most companies in the sector, although we all experienced great difficulties with the increase in commodities and the availability of raw materials. Here, too, Dellas had already started important work with the purchasing department, reinforcing the warehouse to be able to satisfy customers, guaranteeing the timing and services that we always receive”.
Has the techno-lapid industry recovered to pre-pandemic export levels?
“Certainly export levels have recovered to pre-pandemic levels. They have increased compared to 2019 and the international export figures for 2022 show this”.
Have the difficulties in sourcing raw materials following the outbreak of war in Ukraine been overcome?
“From our point of view, the only real repercussion following the outbreak of war in Ukraine can be summarised as the increase in the cost of energy. During the financial year 2022, we saw an increase in the pure energy cost of three times that of 2021. The same for stone customers. While for the ceramics industry the problem was much bigger, as most of the clay/soils for production came from the Donbass”.
What effect has the continuing conflict had on the industry?
“I repeat, on the stone industry, apart from energy and export costs, nothing in particular. Different arguments, as already mentioned, for the ceramic sector, which had to find alternative solutions for raw materials”.
What are the prospects in the immediate future?
“The prospects for us are always positive, because we believe that, despite the difficulties that exist, the world is big and easily accessible. Markets are built through years of work, travelling and customer loyalty actions. For years we have been working on new projects and new products to get closer and closer to the needs of companies, and this is rewarding us”.
Two important trade fairs for our sector have just ended: Coverings and Izmir. Do you have any reports from your correspondents?
“We attended both fairs and the feedback from our area manager Gabriele Zorzi was positive. In the US we collaborate with a distributor who also sells cutting machines; the trend is growing and this union allows us to get to customers quickly and meet their needs. Turkey, however, has shown a good trend despite the earthquake that shook the country a few months ago and the upcoming new political elections. The customer base is growing every year and is strengthened by our Dellas Turkey office”.
How does the apuo-versiliese stone sector compare to other Italian stone districts?
“We are present throughout Italy in the various stone districts; the apuo-versilie framework if still a world reference thanks to their product. It is of fundamental importance for us to be present with a sales and service structure, so that we can guarantee our customers services in a timely manner. We can say with certainty that we are among the references in the apuo-versiliese sector, and we strive daily to find solutions and provide support to our customers and the future ones we will have”.