November 2003
  The newsletter for buyers and suppliers of castings and forgings
     
  The French Foundry Industry  
     
 


The French foundry industry is the 7th largest in the world, behind the USA, China, Japan, Russia, Germany and India. It is ranked number 2 in Europe, behind Germany and before Italy.

France is Europe's biggest producer of cast iron parts for hydraulics and construction sectors ahead of Germany, and second for pattern made Iron and cast steel, behind Germany but ahead of Italy. For non-ferrous metals, France is 3rd producer behind Italy and Germany.


Foundry Industry 2001 Results
Production 2.5 millions tonnes

20% of all production in the European Union
2nd producer in Europe
7th producer in the world
 
Sales ex. VAT
 
5,3 billions Euros
 
Trade balance surplus
 
0,6 billions Euros
66% exports to the European Union
 
Number of employees
 
42 803
 
Number of plants 566 (420 with more than 10 employees)

Market situation

After strong growth of 7% during the year 2000, the foundry industry along with their main client sectors experienced a sudden change in market trends in 2001. A weak growth ratio of 1-2% in income is expected and number of employees is to drop by -1%

What these figures do not show is the divergence in the ferrous metal sector, which was particularly hit by drop in domestic demand - neither does it show the stable growth in the non-ferrous sector, that increased practically throughout the entire 12 months ( with slight variations depending on the type of alloy). Production capacity occupation was 81% in year 2001 compared with 83% in year 2000. Value of production has decreased as well reaching 5.29 billion € compared with 2.30 billion € in year 2000

Surplus in foreign trade balance

In year 2001, export markets limited the general decrease in production. In year 2001, total exports of 916 902 tons, a level similar to year 2000, compensated somewhat for the weak domestic demand (-7%). Exports remain relatively strong, reaching 28.9 % of production in year 2001, compared with 28.4% in year 2000. In fact, according to French custom figures, the foreign trade surplus increased by 3.2 %, reaching 0.60 billion € in year 2001 compared with 0.58 billion € in year 2000

The main reason for this result is that imports have increases equally as much as exports. It is interesting to point out that during the last 10 years imports have increased at the same tempo as exports. The explanation being increased competition from Asia during the last years.

Most of foreign trade still remains within the EU, representing 66% of exports and 73% of imports, this proportion is likely to decrease with time in favour of Asian and non EU countries. This is a result of intensification of exchange with above mentioned zones and the existence of quality production at a lower cost.

 


Subcontracted manufacturing

 
Nodular cast irons
Lamellar cast irons
Cast steel
Copper alloys
Light weight alloys
Die castings
Car, cycle, motorbike
77.4
51.6
10.8
18.1
93.0
73.9
Agricultural machinery and tractors
3.1
4.3
1.3
0.2
0.3
0.0
Railways
0.7
1.4
8.1
3.3
0.1
0.0
Shipbuilding and aerospace construction
0.2
0.6
1.2
4.6
0.3
0.0
Electrical and electromechanical construction
1.9
0.6
0.5
3.8
2.2
6.4
Household appliances
0.1
3.5
0.2
0.2
0.4
2
Machine tools
0.9
2.0
0.3
2.0
0.4
1.5
Handling-lifting, mines and boreholes, earthworks, etc.
3.7
27.2
42.9
3.9
0.3
0.0
Miscellaneous metalwork - hardware
0.0
0.2
0.0
2.7
0.1
4.4
Valve fittings, connectors, pumps, meters
3.3
2.6
10.5
37.3
0.2
0.9
Other mechanical construction
2.0
3.6
11.1
4.6
0.9
1.7
Miscellaneous
6.7
2.4
13.1
19.2
1.8
9.2

 

Future perspectives

Looking at all different activities of the foundry sector, it seems that the recession since 2001 has come to an end and for most of the sector the trend is more positive.

Short term perspectives are rather positive as confidence is getting stronger, even though this confidence varies somewhat. There is a notion that the market is evolving differently from one foundry sector to another.

In the non ferrous sector, productions seems soaring again. The light alloy foundries (aluminium and magnesium) in particular seem to benefit from a strong demand from the automotive industry. Also, the sector continues to benefit from excellent export ratio.

For the ferrous sector, the situation seems more tense. Even though production is progressing again, the main economic indicators show a slight decrease from the year before. There is still substantial technical capacity unexploited on different production sites. The sector will continue to be challenged by tough international competition.

Automotive industry suppliers should maintain stable activity growth. Order books are showing strong demand and positive short term perspectives.

Manufacturing of catalog products

.
.
- cooking and heating equipment /
3 608 t
.
- building foods
71 214 t
.
- pipes and manhole covers
715 796 t
.

incl.G.S cast iron

.
661 994 t
Subcontracted manufacturing

.
.
- cast iron from models
1 221 566 t
.

incl.G.S cast iron

.
332 814 t
- cast steel
129 328 t
.
- malleable cast irons
5 860 t
.
- copper alloys
24 779 t
.

incl. copper alloys pressure die casting

.
4 087 t
- lightweight alloys
315 494 t
.

incl. light alloys pressure die casting

.
150 811 t
- zinc alloys and miscellaneous
39 501 t
.

incl. zinc & misc. pressure die casting

.
36 049 t
TOTAL

2 527 146 t
.

including pressure die casting

.
190 947 t

including. G.S cast iron

.
994 808 t

 

 
     
     
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