Machine tools - Exports Russia: The German machine tools industry holds on to the russian market

Author Stéphane Itasse |

With a good 100 exhibitors German manufacturers will present themselves as the biggest foreign community participating in the Metalloobrabotka 2015, the most important machine tool exhibition in Russia. A number of German manufacturers will also present on their own or through their Russian agencies, stated VDW on Tuesday.

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The Metalloobrabotka is the biggest machine tool trade fair in Russia.
The Metalloobrabotka is the biggest machine tool trade fair in Russia.
(Photo: Metalloobrabotka)

The German shared presence has come about because of the initiative of VDW and Messe Düsseldorf after the German Ministry of Economics cancelled the planned official participation of Germany “due to political reasons”, states a report. “Russia is a very important market with great potential for the German machine tool industry even if the orders have slumped massively at present”, reasons Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, managing director of the VDW, association initiative. “Therefore a shared presence in the trade fair which is by far the most important trade fair in Russia is a strong signal in the current difficult period. In this way we are demonstrating our reliable partnership and we are positioning ourselves against the emerging competition from Asia.” The response of the exhibitors shows that he is right.

German machine tool manufacturers are looking at a long-term involvement in Russia

Franz-Xaver Bernhard, board member, R&D at the machine tool factory Berthold Hermle AG in Gosheim, says “Despite the restrictions due to imposed sanctions, Hermle AG views its involvement in the trade fair in Moscow as a continuation of its long-term distribution strategy. Stefan Klebert, CEO of Schuler AG in Göppingen still sees a lot of potential in the Russian market: “Our presence in Moscow shows that we are putting our faith in a positive development of this market where our hydraulic forging presses are in demand right now amongst other things”. Klaus Winkler, managing director of Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH in Nürtingen confirmed: “Despite the current crisis and the associated activities which are difficult to plan in the short-term, we feel the intensification of our presence in the Russian market is important and we are continually investing. Naturally that also includes this year’s participation in Metalloobrabotka.”

Russia imports almost 90 % of its requirement for production technology, reports VDW. More than one in five imported machines is from Germany. As the biggest supplier of machine tools for the Russian industry, Germany delivered machines worth almost 500 million Euros in the last year. Thus Germany stands at number one among the most important suppliers for the Russian industry and that too since many years.

Russia’s demand for machine tools continues to be high

Schäfer assesses this as a strong proof for the high technological demand and the competence of Russian customers. According to a report, Dr. Rüdiger Kapitza, chairman of the DMG Mori Aktiengesellschaft in Bielefeld said: “Metalloobrabotka highlights this branch internationally. As an important decision-making platform it is also an indicator of the demand for modern production technology in Russia.” Schäfer adds: “The demand for high quality production technology in the Russian industry is enormous. It is equally unfortunate that valuable time for modernizing the operations is now getting lost. We are hoping that the political conflict will end as soon as possible and a way towards normalisation of relations will be found”.

According to reports, in the last year the orders from Russia slumped by more than half. The exports have reduced by 6 %. “This year the strong distortions will also affect export”, predicts Schäfer.