Surprise in the turnover figures for the first quarter of 2021 for the Italian ceramic industry. After closing 2020 with a decline in turnover of 4%, less than expected, it returned to growth this year, registering sales of + 9% in the first 3 months (+ 7% compared to 2019), exceeding the pre- pandemic. A recovery that, as explained by the president of Confindustria Ceramica Giovanni Savorani, had already begun in the second half of last year, greatly reducing the collapse in sales suffered during the lockdown. Compared to the negative signs that characterized the year of Covid (-14% national production of ceramic tiles, -3.9% total sales in volume and value, as well as the collapse of investments almost halved), as of 31 March 2021 all the indicators are definitely back on the positive side. This year, in fact, for the first time in 15 years, the Italian turnover of ceramic tile manufacturing companies marks + 18,9%, alongside an export of + 7,2%, for a total revenue of + 9% compared to 2020, the year of negative signs.
The statistical surveys of Confindustria Ceramica for 2020 relating to companies active in the production of ceramic tiles and slabs, sanitary ceramics, porcelain and tableware, refractory materials, technical ceramics, bricks indicate that the companies active in Italy are 271 overall for about 26.750 direct employees and turnover of 6.2 billion euros. To these must be added the internationalization of production in Europe and North America.
Last June, during the press conference held on the occasion of the Confindustria Ceramica annual meeting, the president of Confindustria Ceramica Giovanni Savorani declared: “During the second half of last year we recovered much of the collapse in sales due to the lockdown, a positive tone that already in this first quarter of 2021 led us to exceed the pre-pandemic levels. The attention to the ‘good home’ around the world, combined with the characteristics of healthiness, sustainability and durability, have pushed up the consumption of ceramic tiles in the various continents. The incentives provided by the Recovery Plan and the bureaucratic simplification can make this growth lasting and consistent ”.
However, President Savorani does not lose sight of the critical issues affecting the sector. “The recovery of the world economy has led, also for our sector, to very strong and sudden increases in the costs of production factors, such as pallets, plastic and cardboard for packaging, sea freight, where sometimes we are unable to ship due to the unavailability of containers. For methane gas, the increase is double: the increase in the cost of raw materials – from 8 euros last year to 20 today – is also joined by that of C02 determined by the ETS system, where the 15 euros per tonne of 10 months ago flew to around 50 now, also due to financial speculation. For the Italian ceramic tile sector, a reformulation of the ETS mechanism and its inclusion among the sectors that can benefit from the compensation of indirect costs is necessary ”.
A good 2020 for Sicer, despite everything
2020 will always be remembered as the year of the pandemic by Covid19 which has strongly affected the economy around the world. For Sicer it was an absolutely unpredictable and complex year, but despite all the difficulties caused by the pandemic, it was also a year of good results and great satisfaction. After a positive start to the year, we experienced one of the most terrible quarters ever (April -75%). Scenarios were envisaged throughout the ceramic tile sector which would have foreseen a balance sheet closure from -20% up to -40%, instead in the third and fourth quarter of the year there was a vigorous and unexpected recovery that allowed it to close 2020 with consolidated Group revenues of 70 million euros, in line with 2019. Sicer managed the Covid19 emergency with proactivity and resilience. Having promptly adopted all the best medical and health precautions has allowed Sicer to have an absolutely limited number of Covid19 cases in all its offices and without serious consequences.
Another important aspect that took place at the end of 2020 was the entry, as majority shareholder, of Azimut Libera Impresa, which took over 65% of Sicer. This novelty is allowing the manufacturer and supplier of raw materials for ceramic companies in Ubersetto to aim even higher than it was already doing before.
A 2021 full of news for Sicer
Filed 2020 with data above all expectations, Sicer’s 2021 begins full of news in terms of products but not only. Let’s see them in detail.
Acquisition of the former Cerfrit production plant
The manufacturer and supplier of raw materials for ceramic companies of Ubersetto in Ubersetto, already present abroad with production and commercial plants in Spain, Mexico, India, Indonesia, Turkey and Poland, further consolidated its presence in the Spanish district with the acquisition in May 2021 of the former production plant Cerfrit, a company located in the heart of the ceramic district of Castellón. Sicer now has at its disposal, therefore, a new highly specialized production site of about 9.000m2 as well as laboratories and offices and a fried production department with a production capacity of over 40.000 tons/year, in addition to the possibility of producing glazes and grits of latest generation, all on an area of over 30.000 m2.
The first product news at Sicer for 2021 has been the HP series, a range of full colored glass calibrated grits and microgrits designed to give absolute stability and intensity to the color inside the ceramic glass. Its main features are:
– intensity and depth of color;
– color stability;
– soft non-reflective effect;
– vitrified and water-repellent color;
– possibility to generate customized mixtures with colored grits and neutral of the same particle size (HPX series).
Sicer offers a complete range of HP series grits in 9 colors with 2 different grain sizes. By choosing the HP series, consisting of 9 basic colors, and mixing it with other neutral grits, infinite combinations are obtained, the HPX series, which allow to get any desired color effect. The result is a very intense, soft and above all stable blend that gives the material a preciousness and a unique added value.
HP series has been designed for traditional applications or with digital glue, both for dry and wet applications.
Furthermore, Sicer has launched on the market a new range of digital inks that offer the possibility of composing the traditional four-color process, choosing between 4 different combinations, in order to have a much wider and more intense color gamut than the traditional one. This is the CUSTOM SCD2000 series.
All CUSTOM SCD2000 inks can be produced both with low emission .E base (ester base) and .LE base (ECO solvent base).
The color intensity of SCD2000 digital inks reaches up to + 30% / 40% compared to current standards. It is therefore possible to get more intense colors, warm yellows, a wide variety of greens and a wide range of red-orange tones.
BLACK DIAMOND solution
Moving on with the news for this 2021, we find BLACK DIAMOND, an innovative solution designed by Sicer Technology Lab to create glossy lapped products on absolute black graphics.
The new series of BLACK DRY-LUX grits, specifically designed to create absolute black marbles, guarantee:
- neutral shade of black;
- saturated black tone;
- absolute transparency and brilliance of the glass;
- control and management of the microporosity of the glass in the different production conditions.
GRAN LUX solution
Another product presented by the Technology Lab of the manufacturer and supplier of raw materials for ceramic companies in Ubersetto is GRAN LUX, a series of grits for wet applications for mirror lapping. The GRAN LUX range, alongside the highly successful GRA DRY-LUX series for dry application, completes the range of grits designed to get ultra-bright, transparent, compact and porosity-free honed surfaces.
Renewed GLR Anti-slip series
Presented in absolute preview at Cersaie 2021, we find the renewed range of GLR glazes. In addition to having certified anti-slip and anti-reflective technical characteristics, these new glazes also allow the creation of surfaces that are very pleasant to the touch and therefore optimal for decorating indoor spaces in the home as well as outdoor or commercial areas. The GLR soft anti-slip range perfectly combines technical and aesthetic characteristics in a single product and guarantees:
- a perfect draft;
- a total cleanability;
- absolute transparency and development of digital colors;
- a final surface totally anti-reflective, natural, material and pleasant to the touch.
What distinguishes this new range from most anti-slip glazes is the absolute softness of the final surface to the touch.
Another news that met with great success at the last edition of Cersaie has been STRUCTURE, a range that allows you to create infinite structures (woods, cements, etc.) on ceramic tile with the possibility of matching with digital graphics and colors, regardless of the type of production plant used.
Sicer offers two different solutions: ATOM-STRUCTURE and DIGITAL-STRUCTURE.
ATOM-STRUCTURE, available in the two variants ATS010 and ATS020 depending on whether you want to get a more or less marked effect, is a calibrated atomized product that was created to be applied upstream of the glazing line, directly on digital glue. The product perfectly follows the design of the glue, creating the desired relief and structure and after its application all the other usual phases of the production line are carried out.
DIGITAL-STRUCTURE, on the other hand, is a structuring reserving agent which, digitally applied at the beginning of the glazing line, before or after the glazing, does not allow the materials applied on top to adhere, thus generating material reliefs on the edge. DIGITAL-STRUCTURE is available in two versions: SDS030LE and SDS060LE.
In short, 2021 at the highest levels for Sicer. But the best is yet to come…. Stay connected!