Essen. “For us the crisis is over.” The experience of Frank Busenbecker, Managing Director with Erbslöh Aluminium GmbH, a medium-sized supplier for the automotive industry, is currently shared by many companies in the aluminium industry. After the sharp decline last year, the industry has started on a catch-up race which, with its tempo, surprises even industry insiders. “In the first half of 2010 alone, the production of rolled and extruded products increased by a remarkable 30.3 per cent to 1.2 million tons – an unprecedented increase”, says Christian Wellner, Managing Director of the German Aluminium Association (GDA,) at the start of this year’s ALUMINIUM which, with a total of 873 exhibitor companies from 47 countries, was even slightly larger than the 2008 event which had so far held the record.
The strong increase mentioned by the GDA is not only felt by Frank Busenbecker who expects the best trading result in the company’s history of extrusion going back almost 100 years in 2011. In this context he counts on export business in the premium automotive sector continuing strong and on demand in the domestic market picking up. Hans-Peter Schlüter, CEO of the TRIMET AG, which operates two aluminium smelters in Germany, in Essen and Hamburg, also notices signs of a turnaround: “In 2008 after the end of ALUMINIUM we felt the beginning of the crisis, now we feel the onset of a boom which may well turn into a sustained one. Business is very lively.”
Visitor numbers stable at a high level
This is emphasized by this year’s ALUMINIUM which, with a total of 17,200 visitors, once again achieved the high level of the previous record of 2008 (16,886). The number of visitors from abroad showed a clear increase of almost ten per cent, reaching the 50 per cent mark for the first time. “ALUMINIUM set a clear signal for growth”, says Markus Jessberger, Event Director of ALUMINIUM. According to him, strong impulses came from the transport sector, from mechanical and plant engineering and from the solar and packaging industries.
The course is set for further growth: that is also apparent from the results of a representative survey conducted by an independent trade fair and market research company during the fair. According to this survey, the industry’s willingness to invest is clearly on the rise again. Almost one in three visitors came to Essen with concrete intentions to invest, with more than 35 per cent of the companies planning to spend more than half a million euro. Expectations regarding the future economic development of the industry match this positive view. 69 per cent of the companies surveyed expect a significant or slight growth in business, 23 per cent expect business to remain stable, and only four per cent fear a deteriorating business climate.
ALUMINIUM moving to Düsseldorf in 2012
After 13 years in Essen, during which ALUMINIUM developed into one of the most successful industry fairs in Europe since its premiere – with 219 exhibitors at the time – in 1997, it will move from the Ruhr to the Rhine in 2012. “We felt very much at home in Essen”, says Hans-Joachim Erbel, Managing Director of Reed Exhibitions Deutschland GmbH, “but currently the necessary exhibition space capacities of consistently high quality are not available in Essen, which is why the move to the Rhine was inevitable.” This is apparent from the space increases planned from 2012 onwards. Right from the start, ALUMINIUM will occupy some 75,000 m² in the six trade fair halls 9 to 14.
The 9th ALUMINIUM, World Trade Fair and Conference, will be held in Düsseldorf from 9 to 11 October 2012.
Interview with Dr. Habig