PCB | February 03, 2009

Somacis new PCB prototype plant in Italy up and running

evertiq has made an interview with Mr. Marco Di Donfrancesco the Strategic Marketing Director at Italian based PCB producer Somacis. In the interview Mr.Donfrancesco points out the development for the company in 2008, the new prototype PCB plant in Italy, the forecast for 2009, the development for the plant in China and the outlook for the European PCB industry.
E: How did Somacis do in 2008?

S: On the whole 2008 was a positive year for SOMACIS. The marketing strategy, which had been put together the previous year, has started to give results. The Chinese plant in Dongguan is running at capacity. The new Italian plant dedicated to fast prototyping has been launched. The sales strategy has been strengthened through partnerships and deeper penetration into some markets sectors. All these factors have gone towards making a very positive start to the year and helped minimize the impact the global crisis, which has hit many sectors in the last six months, has had.

E: Did the company see any decrease or downturn due to the slowdown of the worldwide economy?

S: Of course the forecast for the near future isn’t particularly rosy, as can be seen from the various media coverage most of the industrial sectors are experiencing difficulty. The need to reduce costs has affected the state of employment , which, in turn, has a negative effect on the purchasing power of consumers. The reduction in non essential consumer goods has already started, and will continue to do so, with a direct affect on many products, including PCBs. The product mix of SOMACIS is, however, strongly oriented towards the production of prototypes and high tech PBCs, which should be less effected than the high volume or mass production companies. Following this strategy we hope to minimize the inevitable reduction in production which has to be forecasted.

E: What does Somacis plan for 2009?

S: For 2009 SOMACIS foresees further strengthening of its presence on the market, from one side by focusing on the Company as a producer of technologically advanced PCBs, and from another through business development focused on acquiring market share through strategy of merger and acquisition as well as amplifying the strength of sales both directly and through partnerships. Add to this the optimization of the new prototyping and quick turn around services which the new Italian production plant will be given over to.

E: Are there further plans to increase staff numbers in Italy or do you plan to invest in new equipment?

S: Because of both the recent investments that SOMACIS made in its new production plants and the global reduction of the market we did not consider any staff increasing in Italy for the very next future. The new Italian plant is actually equipped with the most advanced machinery putting SOMACIS in the best situation to plan the medium-long term strategy for maintaining its positioning on top of technology.

E: Do you see Somacis expanding into Eastern Europe or maybe India? (new production facilities, etc.)

S: We are constantly monitoring new emerging markets, with the aim of identifying the most effective way of entering them. At the moment we are concentrating on the markets already established such as that of The United States, and so do not foresee any move towards investing in productive plants in these areas in the near future.

E: What plans do you have for China?

S: SOMACIS together with its partner Graphic PLC UK is already present in China with a production plant which has quality standards more in line with those of Europe than Asia. The company aims to develop and increase its business in the local market, which has enormous potential. SOMACIS’s presence in China is not, and never will be, the response to the needs demanded by the market, of finding lower production costs whilst maintaining the quality levels. It is instead, a real and valid presence on the market there.

E: Where do you see the European PCB industry in 2012?

S: The current situation makes forecasts very difficult to make on a monthly basis, to try and do so until 2012 would be impossible. The global economic crisis we’re facing could also change significantly the habits of the consumers, maybe rewriting some of the rules of the market. The challenge that awaits the PCB Industry, as well as other industries, could be described as Darwin’s “survival of the fittest”, in so much as the number of small manufacturers will reduce drastically and many of the mid-sized ones will fuse, perhaps causing a re-equilibration of the Asian monopoly of this sector.
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