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Giampiero Cortinovis: ‘The situation of the market in the last few years has improved considerably'

26 enero 2017

Moth's eyes have evolved to prevent light from reflecting off them. This particular feature is becoming important for producing better antireflective nanostructured surfaces.

Interview with the president of Eurosurfas, the International Surface Treatment Event

In October this year, Fira de Barcelona's Gran Via Exhibition Centre is hosting the 26th edition of Eurosurfas, the International Surface Treatment Event. Giampiero Cortinovis has been the president of the event's organising committee since 2014, though his connection with the event goes back several decades as his company started exhibiting at Eurosurfas in 1973.

Question: In 2017, Eurosurfas is taking place for the 26th time. From your double perspective as the president of the event and the former CEO of one of its leading exhibitors, how has Eurosurfas progressed over all these years?

Answer: Ever since it started, Eurosurfas has always held an important position in the sector it represents. Considering the general difficulties of the industrial sector in Spain, it has managed to hold onto its leading position across the whole country and is also a major point of reference for its connections and contacts with other Europe-wide events.

What about the surface treatment sector?

It is still a hugely important sector because it provides our clients with cutting-edge technology for their end products and hence makes them more competitive not only nationally but also internationally.

What position has the sector reached in national and international terms?

The surface treatment sector has experienced a lot of economic instability in the last few years, though after a few structural changes it has managed to overcome this situation and is currently in a position to confidently offer new technologies and innovations. As it is a sector involving major international groups, it has managed to withstand the crisis because by having new technologies available it has managed to meet requests from major clients (such as the automotive and aeronautical sectors, etc.).

What are the challenges facing the sector?

Companies in the surface treatment sector have had to invest in developing new treatments and new products. As I mentioned before, the automotive and aeronautical industries have helped us and motivated us to strive to reach the quality demands that both these sectors expect.

What role do internationalisation and innovation play?

The internationalisation of the market and the bonds between local firms and major international groups has made it possible for a continuous exchange of technology, with Spain being in the ‘high-tech' group.

In this respect, what can Eurosurfas 2017 bring to the sector?

Eurosurfas 2017 will continue to provide a showcase for all the companies in the surface treatment sector and, as it is held on the same dates as the World Chemical Summit, we hope to generate contacts with a greater number of international firms.

Ten months away from the event, how do you envisage Eurosurfas 2017?

I believe that Eurosurfas 2017, as in previous years, will arouse a great deal of interest in all the clients in our sector. The market situation in the last few years has improved considerably, running parallel with the increased production of the biggest clients in the sector. For the surface treatment sector, the automotive and construction industries are still our most important source of business.

The automotive sector, which I am more familiar with than other sectors, is reaching production records in every Spanish plant and this has become an important factor in stimulating generalised growth in the consumption of all those compounds and consumables that these clients need. If we look back over the last few years at exports in the automotive sector, we can see how strategically important they are for our country. We're talking here about double-digit percentages, which generate a lot more business in the sector of companies specialising in surface treatments.

The aeronautical sector is also very important, but the results take longer to emerge due to the numerous and very lengthy testing systems necessary for official certification. For this sector, the development of surface treatments has been at an exceptionally high level and this is evident in the use of new elements and materials that make up every component of aircraft. The construction sector has also mobilised itself in the last couple of years and is a very important source of business for the metal and mechanical industry, with the knock-on effect of substantial improvements for industry in general. All of this has been possible thanks to the costs incurred by companies on their loans. We have never had access to financial products at such low interest rates, and this has not only encouraged investments by major groups but also by small and medium sized enterprises.

We need to remember that 90% of the Spanish industry comprises family-run or semi-family-run enterprises where investment decisions are taken ‘in loco', in contrast to the multinationals. For these companies to make a decision to invest, it is also important for there to be political stability that gives them the confidence to make investments now and in the future.

To conclude, I am confident that Eurosurfas 2017 will be a success, provided that the conditions I mentioned earlier remain the same, allowing our sector to develop even further in the future.

 

Barcelona, January 2017
Eduard Pérez Moya (+34) 93 233 21 66 eperezm@firabarcelona.com

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(Interview published in www.interempresas.net)