The impact of the ongoing economic crisis on the microtechnology, nanotechnology and advanced materials industries is expected to be less noticeable in 2010 than in the previous business year. The expectations for 2010 prove that the industry has not lost its optimism. In the second half of 2009, "excellent business" has been reported by individual companies. Due to an increasing demand from the semiconductor sector, some companies have directly changed over from short-time work to weekend shifts.
Drops in turnover, orders and production, and funding gaps reported
In total, the European microtechnology, nanotechnology and advanced materials companies achieved a turnover of just under 44 billion Euros in 2009. According to the industry, sales in 2009 clearly went down, much more so than in the previous year, 2008. More than one quarter (27%) of the companies reported a turnover decreasing more than 10% - only one tenth of the companies (10%) had expected cutbacks on such a big scale for 2009. The percentage of companies that were able to report a turnover increasing more than 10%, however, has fallen from 30% in 2008 to only just 12% in 2009.
Other areas, next to the annual turnover, in which business significantly decreased during 2009, are the numbers of orders and the production volumes. More than three quarters (76%) of the companies report a decrease in orders for the year 2009, 63% cut back their production. Still, more than half of the companies (54%) have been able to keep staff numbers steady. Especially in Germany, it seems that the possibility to work short time has helped to avoid too many redundancies. In total, the European microtechnology, nanotechnology and advanced materials industry employed 310,000 people at the end of 2009.
During 2009, financing remained stable for 46% of the companies. But it is a striking fact that none of the responding companies has reported an improvement in its funding situation in 2009. The current restrictive approach to lending is gradually becoming a life-threatening problem for many high-tech companies. If the situation on financial markets, the willingness of banks to lend and the willingness of the companies to invest in research and development do not improve again soon, the industry may be facing a massive growth problem.
Industry responds with diversification, customer acquisition and downsizing
Diversification is the most common reaction of the European micro, nano and materials companies to the economic crisis, in addition to intensified customer acquisition efforts. Almost half of the companies (49%) have expanded their business, 82% of them by developing new products, 55% by entering new markets. The measures the companies take as a response to the economic crisis betray a growing resignation: in 2009, the companies have more often taken restrictive measures than in the year before, for example, reduced labour costs (39% in 2009, 35% in 2009) or saved on R&D investments (30% in 2009, 14% in 2008). Other business areas subject to stronger saving in 2009 were marketing and the access of new regional markets.
German companies support automotive industry
Among the target markets of the German micro, nano and materials companies, the automotive industry has replaced the medical technology industry as the most popular market for the first time in years. Slightly more than half of the German companies (51%) supplied the automotive industry in 2009, whereas in the rest of Europe it were only 44%. It is likely that the car scrapping scheme has caused a short term boost to the benefit of the car producers and their supplying industries. How the markets are going to develop after the scheme has expired in the course of 2010 remains to be seen.
Mona Okroy | idw
The RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index started off well in 2018
22.02.2018 | RWI – Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung
RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index ending 2017 on a positive note
24.01.2018 | RWI – Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences