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IRRITEC & SIPLAST MICRO-IRRIGATION SYSTEMS LOOK TOWARDS THE INTERNATIONAL MARKETS

IRRITEC & SIPLAST MICRO-IRRIGATION SYSTEMS LOOK TOWARDS THE INTERNATIONAL MARKETS Micro-irrigation - a sector where the Sicilian group Irritec & Siplast (www.irritec.com or www.siplast.it) is a leading player on a global scale - allows for the saving of water and energy, for the increase the quantity and the quality of agricultural produce, for the improvement of labour efficiency, an even distribution of water for greenhouses and open field farming, and facilitates 'fertigation' techniques, i.e. the addition of fertilisers to water irrigation. The firm has an international outreach, but also a solid family tradition and strong local roots. Siplast was founded in 1974 in the province of Messina by the Giuffré family. It started manufacturing shutters, but in the second half of the 1970s Carmelo Giuffré, the current CEO of the company who at the time was only 25, had the intuition to add two production lines dedicated to irrigation pipes to the three existing ones, making shutters. Siplast remained faithful to the plastic processing industry, but that decision heralded a shift of the company's core activities into the micro-irrigation sector, which differs from traditional irrigation techniques because it relies on drippers, rather than sprinklers, to deliver water, allowing plant irrigation to be controlled with greater precision.
In 1979 Irritec was founded, adding pipe-fittings, valves, chip pipes and other moulded products to Siplast's existing product range, based on driplines and pipes.
Today the Irritec & Siplast group, thanks to the constant use of up-to-date methods and technologies, considerable investments in R&D and a solid know-how base consolidated over time, is able to offer comprehensive irrigation systems, as well as thermo-hydraulic and water treatment solutions.
The wide range of applications for Irritec & Siplast products has allowed the firm to progressively expand its activities outside Italy. Over the years there has been a strong effort to market its products abroad, through participation in several trade fairs as well as by developing a wide-ranging commercial network on the world's biggest markets. Today the group exports and sells all over the world.
Over three decades after its foundation, Irritec & Siplast has more than 350 employees and is one of the five major world players in its sector, with an annual turnover that in 2006 grew by 14% compared to the previous year, reaching 58 million euros. Over the 2004-2006 period annual profits grew on average by 13% a year. Irritec & Siplast has a marked export-oriented outlook, and 55% of its turnover is based on foreign sales (30% in Europe, where it is the market leader, 14% in America, 8% in Africa and 3% in Asia).
The expansion of exports has been matched by the internationalisation of the firm's production lines. New plants in Spain, California and Mexico have been added to the existing ones in Sicily (one for Irritec and two for Siplast). 1997 saw the creation of a Spanish affiliate company, Siberline, which aimed to cater for the demands of the local markets and represented one of the first examples of internationalisation for the Italian irrigation industry. In 1999 Point Source Irrigation was established in Fresno, California, in partnership with other firms in the sector, in order to give Irritec & Siplast a foothold on the US market through the manufacturing of pipe-fittings tailored to local market requirements. Most recently, Siberline Mexico was launched in 2002, initially only to distribute Irritec & Siplast products. However, due to strong local demand, a new manufacturing plant was built, and today Siberline Mexico has a commercial network that covers the entire country.

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