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FROM THE MOUNTAIN TO THE FINISHED PRODUCT, THE EXCELLENCE OF TRENTINO'S STONES
Almost 500 operating companies, 492 to be precise, employing a total of 3293 people and producing a total turnover that in 2012 amounted to €424,972.480.
These are the figures that refer to the district producing Trentino's porphyry and stones, located in Trento, in the north-east of Italy and that includes companies operating in the quarrying, processing and marketing of products.
Even though it may have coped with the crisis, there have still been repercussions, as Ezio Cristofolini, the man in in charge of the office that heads up the district explains.
This was also highlighted by a report on the stone production sector, distributed by the district, in which what emerges is that "the sector is feeling the crisis and the short-term prospects underline a consolidation of the current situation, albeit critical." The report goes on to say "This has resulted in a fall in production and turnovers... with a significant reduction in the number of hours worked. Against this background, the only positive aspect has been a fundamental stability in the area of production, with the minimum loss of businesses".
In particular, when it comes to porphyry, a veritable cornerstone with its quarrying concentrated in the quadrangle that includes the towns of Albiano, Fornace, Lases and Baselga di Pinè, there has been a variation of -22% in the two-year period 2010 - 2012. And as for the other materials, things don't appear to be going any better: in 2010-2012, the variation in turnover was in fact -6.8%.
The future, however, might be more promising, because, as the district's representatives explain, "the goal to be achieved in the medium to long-term is that of reducing the current high level of fragmentation, both with regard to the incorporation of quarrying lots, and the commercial aspect."The programme also envisages, in addition to the combinations, a strong investment in promotion abroad as part of the search for new trading opportunities," they add.
Some data on the breakdown of market shares sees Italy continuing to dominate with 60% and the foreign sector accounting for 40% of the total; 70% of exports go to EU countries (with Germany being the biggest customer) and 30% to non-European countries.
There do therefore appear to be the margins for expanding still further into foreign markets; in addition to this there are other potential areas that could be developed, as a report from the district's Observatory reveals.
One particular area in which investment is required is that of research, because in the last three years only 3.7% of the district's firms have actually been involved in research projects.
Then, what is required is the promotion of internationalisation, offering businesses incentives to companies to take a greater interest in trade fairs or at least to put in place different sorts of individual promotion. It is also necessary to work on employees' IT skills in order to make it possible for others to "find" their companies and their products online, with modern, functional websites.