Dear Customers & Partners,
Looking back at how this year unfolded, I wanted to take a moment and share with you my thoughts on the textile performance of 2017. Overall, we are quite pleased with the results, both the way the textiles market grew worldwide, including feverish, better-than-expected machinery investments in some areas, and, specifically, Itema’s performance during this year.
In fact, thanks in large part to your much appreciated custom, our Company is well on the path to close the year once again registering double-digit growth in sales of our advanced weaving machines, spare parts and services, thus continuing the remarkable growth with consecutive year-on-year gains since 2012. This, of course, translates directly into significant market share gains worldwide across a wide gamut of applications and segments. From technical textiles, to home furnishing, curtains, terry and upholstery, to apparel and denim, to name just a few, Itema machines which span the three top weft insertion technologies are weaving success for Customers around the globe.
Worthy of particular mention is Turkey—our traditional and historic stronghold—where loyal and committed Customers, as well as some brand-new ones, have outperformed all our expectations by investing heavily in weaving machinery despite initial worries of a potential political and economic slowdown, and have confirmed Itema as the supplier of choice for high-tech, innovative rapier and airjet looms.
China this year has been the gift that keeps on giving. We have registered record-level orders and have had to respond quickly by boosting our production to better cope with the resulting increase in demand both from Chinese mills and Asia-Pacific basin in general, including Japan.
Our sales in the Indian market, especially in the airjet sector, have delivered strong and encouraging results, consolidating this market for Itema as fertile ground for the fast-pace adoption of our innovative airjet technology.
The “Made in Italy” touch of Italian mills, as well as the strategic choice of some European mills in general to concentrate on premium, high-end applications—designer fabrics for fashion and upholstery, as well as niche technical applications have proven to bear fruit and have led to a slow but consistent comeback in textile manufacturing in the domestic European market. Itema is the No. 1 choice for the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese mills when it comes to supplying the right machine for these highly-demanding markets, and is quickly gaining ground in other European countries also. (see this edition’s Weaving Excellence Diaries—Albini video testimonial)
Last, but not least, and perhaps this may come as somewhat a surprise, Iran has been another very strong performer for Itema this past year and is set to continue to grow in the coming months and years.
Looking forward to 2018, I am very optimistic about business prospects and eagerly await the further development of priority markets such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, where Itema is investing time and resources to be closer to mills. Our recently opened ItemaCampus first-class training and testing facility in Lahore (see story) and similar initiatives to follow through the next year (more on this to follow, so stay tuned) will undoubtedly help bridge the gap in sometimes lacking awareness of the top technology, innovation and dedication that the Itema brand is becoming known and appreciated for around the world. Case in point is our A9500 airjet loom (read feature story here), which, I am confident, after having fully proved its capabilities, will now go mainstream in 2018, following closely in the footsteps of all the repeat orders and the excitement and buzz generated this year.
The best is yet to come for Itema-branded innovations, but more on this in the next editions of Red Dot News.
Thank you once again and happy reading.
Christian Straubhaar, Itema’s Group Sales & Marketing Director