Spanish companies try to react to the higher rise in industrial prices of -at least- the last 45 years, when the National Institute of Statistics (INE) began to record the evolution of the prices of raw materials and intermediate products that the industry needs for its production.
The increase is 31.9% year-on-year in October and, if the increase in the price of energy is discounted, industrial prices have grown by 9.7% in the last year, hence the companies in the industrial sector in the country. face a complicated moment. Although the problem is common to all sectors, each company tries to weather the problem according to its possibilities.
In the construction, the price rise has made works more expensive on average by 22.2% in the last three months, according to data from the National Construction Confederation. Your president, Pedro Fernndez-Alen, explains to EL MUNDO that “95% of the companies have noticed an unusual increase in the price of materials, especially wood, which has risen by 125%, steel, aluminum and iron.” To which is added the rise in electricity.
“This has caused that more than 60% of the companies have been forced to cancel contracts or paralyze works and, in addition, there are already deserted public contests, because it is not profitable for companies. There have already been several cases in which, due to the price of the tender, no one shows up for the work. The Administration has to update the prices. This is an issue that is worrying us, “he stresses.
He gives as an example the work for him Jcar-Vinalop transfer in Alicante, the work of University Hospital of Cabuees in Gijn or the union of the roads S-10 and S-30 in Santander. All of them have been deserted because the construction companies were not compensated to present themselves to the tender for the prices.
Within the more industrial branches, the sector of the automobile It is the most affected, since it also has to cope with the lack of supplies, especially semiconductors and chips.
“The rise impacts the entire supply chain of the automotive sector, including components, where the margins are very narrow. Therefore, the only way to maintain profitability that guarantees business continuity is transfer those price increases that we are experiencing customers, which will ultimately affect the final price of the vehicle “, acknowledge sources of Teknia, component manufacturer.
Some of the raw materials they use, such as plastic, aluminum or steel now cost up to two or three times what they were worth in January, Meanwhile he rhodium, used to make catalytic converters for vehicles, is up 24%.
“The electric cost in our twenty-one plants, in some cases it has doubled. We see that it is a general trend in all our plants in Europe and that, although in a more moderate way, it also impacts the rest of the regions “, they point out.
From SEAT, emphasize that “energy is a basic factor of competitiveness for the Spanish automobile industry. We are the second largest car producing country in Europe and we generate 11% of GDP and 9% of employment. To maintain this contribution to the Spanish economy, we need competitive prices that equate us with those of other European countries “.
This competitiveness is hampered by falling margins. “To the global production problems due to the shortage of semiconductors, is added the generalized rise in the prices of raw materials and high energy costs, which is affecting the sector margins “, points for his part Grupo Antoln.
Transferring costs to the client, key for the industry
The chemical industry It is another of the great affected, especially that of basic chemistry -which uses raw materials for its production-. In this segment, fertilizers are the ones that have been shot the most by the use of gas.
“Within the chemical industry sector, some 30,000 different products are manufactured, but those most affected by electricity prices are those of basic chemicals. A clear example is fertilizers, in fact Fertiberia, the leading company in the sector in Spain. , has several plants closed until the end of the year because it is not profitable to produce for the price of gas, “he admits Juan Antonio Labat, CEO of the Business Federation of the Chemical Industry.
Other segments of the chemical industry, such as pharmaceutical, which in turn use other chemical products to produce their own, have a greater capacity to transfer the increase in costs to prices, thus suffering less from these increases.
There are companies that have a difficult time transferring this rise in prices to the consumer, such as large aeronautics.
“In the aerospace sector it is different. AirbusFor example, it is a company that has an order book of more than 7,000 aircraft and that what it produces today will not be sold tomorrow, everything it is producing now is already signed at an agreed price. There is international competition that prevents prices from rising, so Airbus is buying more expensive supplies and paying for energy at the price it is at, without transferring it to prices “, which translates into a narrowing of profit margins, Explain Juan Antonio Vzquez, Secretary General of the Federation of Industry, Construction and Agro (FICA) from UGT and Airbus worker.
As an industry representative for this union, he cautions that “some companies are thinking of paralyzing productive activity a few weeks, not only because of the rise in prices but also because of the lack of supplies, which can put the viability of your business at risk. “
A challenge for SMEs
The problem of rising prices is especially evident in the small and medium-sized companies, which in Spain represent a 99.2% of the productive fabric, according to the latest data from the INE.
“We are living it with concern because apart from the increase in prices there is a lack of products, we are looking for what there is not and knowing that they will charge us much more for it.We have a price list that we cannot touch at the moment, but we will do it in January because what we can not do is enter losses. It is not a question of having less benefit, it is of entering into losses, “he laments in conversation with this medium. Jordi Morera, CEO of Gutters.
This company, an SME based since 1965 in Prat de Llobregat (Barcelona), is dedicated to manufacturing and distributing throughout the national territory and abroad chilled water fountains for drinking. “What has increased us the most is the stainless steel, copper, packaging, cardboard and electrical components that carry the sources: fan motors and compressors, although these a little less”, explains its general director, who acknowledges that in January look product by product to see how prices can rise. “I believe that the rise will be around 10%, but it is that the rise in costs will be higher “.
In a similar situation he is BeGas, a company that manufactures engines powered by alternative energy -biogs liquefied- and whose clients are urban waste collection companies, municipal services and urban passenger transport. This has already transferred the price increase to its rates by 20%, assuming 80% of the cost increase.
“We are trying that customers assume as little as possible the extra cost passed on to us by suppliers. Part s we have to pass it on, but without leaving what the client can assume, because we can cause the customer to decide to delay purchases“, Be the Pedro Silva, CEO of the company.
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