Lorenzo Primultini

Wood & Panel Europe in a candid conversation with Lorenzo Primultini, President, ACIMALL discusses the just concluded Xylexpo, the comeback of the major companies and Italian woodworking industry in general. Here is the replica.

woodandpaneleurope With major companies back to Xylexpo, how has been Xylexpo 2014?
  Lorenzo Primultini:With the return of leading actors − including Biesse Group, Cefla Finishing, Casadei Busellato and some member companies of Scm Group such as Cms-Group-Balestrini and Elmag-Superfici − our exhibition has certainly consolidated its strength and proposal. It was a rich event in terms of exhibitor offer, with an exhaustive display of the best lineup of current technology for wood and wood-based materials.
woodandpaneleurope Following a difficult year in 2013, can we expect a better 2014 following Xylexpo?
  Lorenzo Primultini: The exhibitors we met during the exhibition and in the weeks directly afterwards were quite clear: Xylexpo was good, definitely much better than they had expected, considering the conditions of many markets. The quality of visitors was really high and, according to many exhibitors, many concrete business contacts were made during the show, feeding expectations that the second half of the year might be better than the first one.
Some companies signed orders during the exhibition, finalizing and closing deals that had been opened in the months before, but also providing the right answer to visitors looking for a solution. So, my answer is yes, we can expect a slightly better season after the Milan May…

woodandpaneleurope Italian woodworking industry, in what ways it is at par with European woodworking industry and also how is it exclusive?
  Lorenzo Primultini:
I appreciate this question, as it allows me − once again − to reaffirm that Italian technology is a reference at global level. In this respect, we are very close to our European colleagues; as your readers know well, we actively collaborate with them in many areas within Eumabois, the European federation that represents a dozen of national associations. It’s been a long time since we have got rid of our awe towards German competitors. Just like them, we can build good machines, give smart answers, combine productivity and quality of products or semifinished materials coming out of our lines and machinery.

Italy’s own pride, and I am confident my European colleagues will not regret my statement, is the all-Italian capacity to invent solutions for any problem, to adapt a process very easily to match exactly the needs of our customers. Our flexibility, our capacity to invent always new solutions is an added value that, especially in panel machining, should be acknowledged, I believe.

Let me add another factor that has helped and is helping us be “exclusive”.
I am referring to the constant, intensive relationship with furniture makers, with the producers of doors and floorings, with anyone involved in woodworking in our country, with so many excellent interpreters of design, creativity and taste. Also the interaction with these great entrepreneurs, and being part of an excellent supply chain, is an added value that makes Italian technology “exclusive”.

woodandpaneleurope In tandem with the current economic scenario, can we expect some changes in market concentration?
  Lorenzo Primultini: We are no longer in the Eighties and Nineties, two decades characterized by a real race to acquisitions. This trends has a strong impact in Italy, with the creation of big groups that have grown to global dimensions. This development was positive, as it enabled them to reach a dimension that, if properly managed, offers really promising economies of scale. The global scenario is hard to face for small organizations. It’s difficult to make research and innovation, and to transfer it into a range of machines, if you don’t have people, capitals, space and markets to approach.

I must say that, in recent years, we have seen not so many acquisitions, but rather collaboration and partnerships. Too many times, they were just short-lived experiences; some still survive, and new ones are created. I believe this is the direction that the companies of “made in Italy” should look at with greater attention and openness; in the recent past, they have learned that, to face the global markets, they need adequate dimensions, organizations, skills, financial and technical resources.

woodandpaneleurope What new can we expect in the next edition of Xylexpo?
  Lorenzo Primultini:An even better exhibition, that’s for sure! Xylexpo has been suffering a lot, there is no denying. We paid the serious economic crisis, the peculiar Italian situation, the decision of some big groups not to exhibit in Milan. Things have changed. Some have come back, the economic outlook seems to be improving. 2016 is tomorrow, but there are still many months to go and we will leverage that time to put our expertise to fruition and to make sure that visitors can meet all the big actors of technology, really all of them. And we will not forget the world of supplies and semifinished materials, where Xylexpo has been timid so far, but this area might give even greater satisfaction in 2016…
So, our exhibition will maintain its role of reference event in even-numbered years.

woodandpaneleurope Do you have any plan to focus more the US market, with two big shows coming up in the US and Brazil?
  Lorenzo Primultini: North and South America are regions where we have been focusing our attention for a long time now. In the US, we are happy to see this “reshoring” trend, with many manufacturing industries coming back home. Factories that moved out to Mexico or China in the past decades are now coming back to the US. This is a strong drive for investments in plants and technology, and there are many more implications for woodworking and furniture production.
The US and Brazil are definitely important countries for Italian technology manufacturers, we have been present in these countries for a long time and we are monitoring them closely through our officials who attend local exhibitions and through promotion initiatives we launch in collaboration with ICE, the Italian foreign trade agency.
woodandpaneleurope What will be your main focus for the second half of 2014?
  Lorenzo Primultini: Definitely Russia, a market that is not keeping the same growth rates as in recent years, but it is still one of the most important and interesting regions. We will attend the next Lesdrevmash with a great Italian collective pavilion including about 80 companies.

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