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Engineering – Growing Importance of More Complex Orders

Vladimír Melichar, ČEKIA analyst
(ČEKIA is a leading provider of economic information about Czech and Slovak firms. It is a part of the supranational Bisnode group), 


Engineering  is one of the important fields of the Czech processing industry, and it is also one of the most demanding industries with high requirements for the quality of input factors and energy consumption.


The field includes the manufacture of a broad range of products used for mechanical or heat working of materials or for other operations (e.g. spraying, weighing, packaging, handling etc.). Engineering production includes the manufacture of machinery (including parts and accessories) useful for most branches of the processing industry and other fields of the national economy (e.g. agriculture, transport, forestry, metalworking, metallurgy, mining industries, textile, paper-making and food industries, construction etc.). The development, manufacture and sale of this equipment indicate the current state and future development of the national economy. The field of investment engineering includes all companies that operate as suppliers for the listed areas of business, but without companies that supply their goods to end customers – consumers. Investment engineering as a whole is characterised by a substantial product diversification.

Field of machine and equipment manufacture is divided into five groups (NACE28)

28.1 – Manufacture of general-purpose machinery

28.2 – Manufacture of other general-purpose machinery

28.3 – Manufacture of agricultural and forestry machinery

28.4 – Manufacture of metal forming machinery and machine tools

28.9 – Manufacture of other special-purpose machinery

Long Tradition

Engineering has a long tradition in the Czech Republic. In the period between the world wars, Czechoslovakia was one of the ten most important engineering countries in the world. Throughout the past 150 years, a number of radical changes have taken place in this field of business, both on the level of technology usage and production structure as well as within the business base. A major change occurred after 1989 when the engineering companies were forced to deal with the unfavourable situation resulting from the loss of traditional markets, influx of new, foreign competitors (with appropriate capital and know-how) to the Czech market, or changes in ownership structure. 


Positive Trend in Field Continued in 1st Half of 2011

As follows from the analysis of the Czech Capital Information Agency (ČEKIA), which was published in October 2011 and which is oriented at the field of manufacture of machinery (NACE 28), the importance of the field within the processing industry (and within the whole economy) grew until the outbreak of the global economic crisis. This share diminished with the onset of the recession. Revenues amounted to 6.1% of the GDP in 2009 (a decrease of 0.9 percentage points compared to 2005). The machinery industry employed 10.3% of the total workforce in the processing industry in 2010 and 2.9% of the entire national economy of the Czech Republic. The field contributed 12.4% and 9.7% to the Czech Republic’s overall export and import respectively in 2010. In the period between 2005 and 2007, revenues in the field of Manufacture of machinery and equipment n.e.c. showed an average year-on-year growth of 18.7% from CZK 209.6 billion. in 2005 to CZK 295.1 billion. in 2007 (i.e. overall growth of 40.8%). Due to the economic crisis, revenues started to decrease in the second half of 2008 (the overall year-on-year decrease in 2008 amounted to 2.2%). The slump continued in 2009 when revenues suffered a year-on-year decrease of 24.1%. The market was revitalised in 2010, and the engineering industry posted a year-on-year growth of revenues of 11.4% from the sale of its own products and services of industrial nature. The positive trend in the field continued in the first and second quarters of 2011 when the growth (compared to the same period of the year before) reached 14.5% and 13.3% respectively. The accounting added value showed a trend similar to the revenues. During the period of 2005–2008, the average recorded number of employees (natural persons) in the field grew from 125.8 thousand to 141.9 thousand workers. The development of employment rates in 2009 and 2010 was influenced by the economic crisis, which led to a year-on-year decrease in the numbers of employees by 18% and 6.9% respectively. The number of employees in engineering hovered around 11% of the overall number in the processing industry during 2005–2010. The average gross wage in the field grew by 28% (to CZK 23 634 in 2010) between 2005 and 2010.


Engineering Posting Long-Term Positive Balance

The majority of fields in the processing industry in the Czech Republic is export-oriented. This is also true for the engineering sector, which has been long (since 2002) posting an active trade balance (CZK 80.2 billion. in 2010). The positive foreign trade balance of the engineering industry has been growing continuously since 2000. This trend was not influenced in a significant way even by the global economic crisis, which manifested itself mainly by decreasing turnovers of foreign trade. From the point of view of the territorial structure of foreign trade, the biggest trade partner is traditionally Germany followed by Italy, France, Slovakia,Russia, Poland and China. Prices of industrial products in the field grew by 16.9% between 2000 and 2009, and a year-on-year decrease of 1.6% was recorded in 2010.


Production of Agricultural and Forestry Machinery Likely to Expand

According to data from ČEKIA, or its company database, MagnusWeb, there were 6 468 commercial entities registered in the Czech Republic at the end of August 2011 that had Manufacture of machinery and equipment n.e.c. (according to the NACE 28 Classification of Economic Activities) on file as their main economic activity. Not counting natural persons (entrepreneurs) and legal entities in liquidation, the business base included 2 982 entities, with the majority registered in Prague (16.9%), followed by the Region of Southern Moravia (14.1%) and Central Bohemia (10.3%). Most companies within the field list Manufacture of other general-purpose machinery – NACE 28.2 – as their main business activity. This group is formed by 49.3% of all companies. Then it is NACE 28.9 – Manufacture of other special-purpose machinery (27.7%) and NACE 28.1 – Manufacture of general-purpose machinery (11.1%). The transformation process, which started within the sector in the beginning of the 90’s of the 20th century, is nearly finished. There are only four state firms in the field now, none of which has a decisive share in the main production characteristics of the field as a whole. The introduction of investment incentives provided the precondition for stimulating the influx of foreign capital into the sector and for the building of new production capacities in industrial zones whose production contributed to the growth of the segment. Future expanding segments are likely to include, for example, Manufacture of agricultural and forestry machinery (NACE 28.3), which should see the continuing renovation of existing technical equipment of not only domestic agricultural enterprises (supported by EU). The NACE 28.22 segment (Manufacture of lifting and handling equipment) shows some promise in the continuing renovation of the majority of lifts in the Czech Republic, which find themselves at the end of their lifespan or their technological parameters only hardly satisfy relevant safety regulations. The situation in the automotive industry is important for the sector’s sales.


The sector is largely formed by small and medium businesses, with 103 companies employing over 250 employees. Based on available information, over 80% of enterprises are owned by domestic entities (mainly natural persons). Despite the dominance of domestic owners, the decisive capital of Czech companies in the field are owned by foreign entities (especially from Germany,Japan, Belgium, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands).


Field Sensitive to Economic Cycle

Engineering is characteristic for its relatively high degree of sensitivity to the economic cycle. The state of the Czech economy, as well as that of our biggest foreign trade partners, thus directly influence the demand for products of investment engineering. Machinery and equipment, by investment-intensive company facilities, are among the first products whose purchase gets postponed, limited or even cancelled during a period of negative expectations. In 2009, the worsening situation of manufacturing companies hit, in connection with the global economic crisis, also companies oriented at engineering production. The situation in the field was also influenced by a decrease in the number of orders in the EU (especially in the EU 15 countries), which belonged to the main export territories of the Czech Republic’s engineering industry. In reaction to the impacts of the crisis, the majority of important manufacturing entities came up with more thorough controls of all investments or imposed major limits on investments. On top of that, there is a relatively high risk of uncollectibility or late debt settlement in the sector, which makes it necessary for companies to employ advance payment systems and collateral systems. Czech engineering enterprises should direct their export to new territories, such as Russia, on a larger scale. Opportunities offered in the area of the Russian engineering industry are very interesting because modernisation of this sector is one of the priorities of the Russian Federation. What is more, Czech engineering still has a good name in Russia. However, Russia and the other post-Soviet countries are not the only perspective market. There are also, for example, China, India, Latin American countries or the Near east. Germany remains the dominant client of the sector. The Czech engineering industry has a certain weakness in the fact that it is overly oriented at supplying components or individual machines to general suppliers (mainly from Germany), and the capability of manufacturing complete investment units (such as production lines for the industry or energetics) is still relatively small. The most balanced products of the field include air conditioning equipment, fuel pumps and lubricants for piston engines, parts for piston engines with inner combustion and engines and generators for alternating current, aggregates etc.


Outlets on Domestic and Foreign Markets

Production in the area of engineering includes a broad range of products that find application in most fields of the processing industry and other sectors of the national economy. The engineering industry manufactures machines used in agriculture, manufacture of means of transport, forestry, metalworking, mining industries, textile, paper-making and food industries, construction etc. In view of the fact that the engineering industry operates mainly as a supplier for the listed segments, engineering production is largely influenced by development in these sectors. Industrial production in the area of engineering was growing continuously from 2000 until 2008 when the field profited mainly from the Czech Republic’s accession to the EU, rapid pace of growth of the numbers of new orders and the overall boom of the Czech economy. However, a year-on-year decrease of 28.3% came in 2009 due to the economic crisis. The following year saw a revitalisation represented by a year-on-year growth of 15.3%. The development of the numbers of new orders also offers an overall overview of the state of the field. According to Eurostat data, Czech producers were quite successful in finding outlets on domestic and foreign markets between 2000 and 2010. Overall, the number of orders for domestic entities in the area of engineering grew by 144.4% from 2000 to 2010. Of selected aggregated commodities from the area of engineering, production of liquid filtering or purifying equipment recorded growth in the Czech Republic, with 738 231 pieces manufactured in 2009 (compared to 4 387 pieces in 2000).

Risks and Opportunities

The positive development of the investment engineering field is largely dependent on the revitalisation of the entire Czech economy as well as the economic situation of our biggest foreign trade partners. In connection with the expected boom in the next period, the engineering industry may be negatively influenced by the Czech crown’s unfavourable growing exchange rate towards foreign currencies or the growing cost of energies and input materials (relatively high sensitivity of the sector to these factors). Gradual revitalisation is taking place in the area of new investments, with apparent overall restarting of industrial activities and trust in general. Mid-term perspectives of the field depend on functional enterprise and research programmes, which would benefit from integrating university research. Strong ambitions in the area of productivity are only possible when seeking out new production opportunities, which is feasible on the condition of employing higher levels of science and its technological application. Of course, this also requires a higher concentration of capital capable of establishing an economic base for the required level of research and development. With regard to the ever-growing demand for cost optimisation in the majority of production industries, the importance of more complex orders realised through deliveries of investment units has been growing recently – the transaction includes everything from preparing an investment plan, construction proceedings, project realisation (using own capacities or sub-deliveries from other entities) to training for buyer’s employees and an offer for general repairs.


NACE 28 – Position of important producers on the market (revenues in thousands of CZK)

Manufacture of general-purpose machinery (NACE 28.1)


Owner's country of origin

Revenues 2010


United Kingdom

8 696 211


Czech Republic

3 697 112

Daikin Device Czech Republic s.r.o.


1 646 281

Parker Hannifin Industrial s.r.o.


1 495 751



1 289 636

Manufacture of other general-purpose machinery (NACE 28.2)


Owner's country of origin

Revenues 2010

Carrier Refrigeration Operation Czech Republic s.r.o.


4 406 636

OTIS a.s.


1 523 153

Slovácké strojírny, a.s.


1 280 280

GEA Heat Exchangers a.s.


1 007 796

Huisman Konstrukce, s.r.o.


   772 376

Manufacture of agricultural and forestry machinery (NACE 28.3)


Owner's country of origin

Revenues 2010



2 973 740


Czech Republic

1 379 154

A. Pöttinger, spol. s r.o.


   612 593


Czech Republic

   366 845

Farmet, a.s.

Czech Republic

   335 245

Manufacture of metal forming machinery and machine tools (NACE 28.4)


Owner's country of origin

Revenues 2010


Czech Republic

1 103 232

Šmeral Brno a.s.

Czech Republic

   981 012


Czech Republic

   932 202


Czech Republic

   771 752



   753 290

Manufacture of other special-purpose machinery (NACE 28.9)


Owner's country of origin

Revenues 2010

Groz-Beckert Czech s.r.o.


1 772 664

Vítkovické slévárny, spol. s r.o.

Czech Republic

1 276 217

Caterpillar Global Mining Czech Republic, a.s.


1 276 020

Ammann Czech Republic a.s.


1 251 010

Krušnohorské strojírny Komořany a.s.

Czech Republic

   836 659


Source: Czech Capital Information Agency, a.s. (MagnusWeb company database)
EUR 1 = CZK 24.60 (average exchange rate in 2011)

Supplemet of Czech Business and Trade 3-4/2012


Джерело: Doingbusiness.cz

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