The Spanish Hardware and Industrial Supply Cluster Hits Record Revenue

Pablo Izeta, President, ESKUIN

The Spanish Hardware and Industrial Supply Cluster (ESKUIN) member companies, which comprise hand tool and metalwork manufacturers, recorded a joint turnover of € 455 million at the close of 2023, a record-breaking increase of 2.8 percent over 2022.

“Total turnover in 2023 was positive despite the high degree of uncertainty we faced at the beginning of the year due to high inflation and the turbulent international landscape. After the poor results of 2020, our efforts have been increasingly fruitful year after year, achieving record turnover in 2023, despite the slight decrease in both the number of units sold and margins. Although the forecasts for the European economy were not especially favorable, the year came off to a strong start. However, the second quarter showed a slight drop in sales,” explains Pablo Izeta, President, ESKUIN—a part of the AFM Cluster. 

Sales performance has been disparate on both the domestic and international markets. While domestic sales increased by 6.9 percent, coming in at € 222 million, exports suffered a drop of 0.9 percent, amounting to € 232 million. An analysis of the domestic market by client sectors shows that the industrial sector had the highest growth and was responsible for 47 percent of the sales, amounting to an increase of 10.9 percent over the previous year.

Construction accounted for 46 percent of sales, with a growth of 5.5 percent. On the contrary, the third-strongest sector, agriculture, which accounts for 7 percent of the sales, decreased by 7 percent compared to the previous year, mainly due to the drought conditions in many areas throughout the country. 

The distribution of sales abroad continues the trend of recent years: the European Union is still the Clusters main export market, representing 75 percent of all exports, while America accounts for 12 percent, the Middle East for 6 percent, Africa for 3 percent, Eastern Europe for 2 percent, and Asia and Oceania for 2 percent. France headed the list of main export destinations in 2023, with 8.4 percent of total sales abroad, followed by the United States with 6 percent, Portugal with 4.6 percent, and Germany with 3 percent. Jobs remain very stable in the sector, with an overall figure close to 1,900 persons employed, in line with recent years.

Eisenwarenmesse: Industry’s Premier Show
The world’s most emblematic trade show for the hand tool and industrial supply sector, known as the Eisenwarenmesse, was held in Cologne, Germany, from March 3-6. ESKUIN was present with the participation of 11 associated companies. According to the Chairman of ESKUIN, “After participating in the trade show, we can proudly state that, along with Germany, we are one of the leading European countries in the manufacture of premium tools. Although hand tools are a well-known product, investing in R&D and quality and taking a customer-centered approach has allowed us to evolve in line with customer requirements and provide the market with state-of-the-art solutions.” 

The Cologne trade show brought together 3,200 exhibitors and nearly 38,000 visitors, 92 percent and 70 percent of which were international, respectively. As regards the increase in Asian exhibitors and visitors, Izeta commented the following: “Asian products still pose a threat, and we are aware that continuing to be competitive will require investing in talent, the need to learn quickly, and investing in technology and sustainability as key competitive factors. The prestige of our brand and knowledge of the product and market, while relying on production plants that are adaptable and efficient, are the competitive advantages we have to use to face our competitors.” 

Forecast For 2024
The prospects are good at the start of the year; moreover, based on the high degree of entrepreneurial confidence among ESKUIN associates, sales are expected to be similar or even improve slightly with regard to the previous quarter. One of the primary goals for this year will be to recover the margins that have been lost over recent years.

AFM Cluster Seeks Industrial Talent
ESKUIN is one of the associations that comprise AFM CLUSTER, an organization made up of over 800 businesses belonging to the advanced and digital manufacturing sector and which constitutes the country’s top and most powerful industrial hub: manufacturers and importers of manufacturing technologies such as machine-tools and 3D printing, manufacturers of cutting tools and components, hand tools, machine-tool and metal mechanical transformation companies, automation technologies, robotics, industrial digitalization, and industrial startups.

A sector that needs to add qualified technical talent to its companies, which is carried out by AFM CLUSTER by heading a variety of talent-oriented initiatives focused on attracting young employees and explaining the professional opportunities that are available in the advanced manufacturing sector. Izeta concludes. “Our sector offers interesting professional careers, hand-in-hand with good working and economic conditions. The key to attracting and maintaining talent resides in putting people at the center, granting them independence and support so they can reach the maximum commitment to the project.”

Image Source: AFM Cluster

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