Market data released this week suggests that the UK is now importing €45m (£38m) a year worth of commercial refrigeration equipment from Italy.
A study carried out by Confindustria Ceced Italia — the Italian Association of Domestic and Professional Equipment Manufacturers — pinpointed the UK as one of the largest buyers of Italian-built refrigeration in the world.
It said the UK market was worth €44.82m to Italian refrigeration producers in 2012, a rise of 28% on the previous year.
Out of the “traditional” European markets that Italy exports to, only Austria (up 13%) and Russia (up 23%) saw anywhere near the sort of growth of the UK.
CCI, which published the figures as part of a study undertaken for HOST 2013, said Saudi Arabia remains the leading non-EU importer of Italian refrigeration products. The Gulf state increased purchases by some 86% last year to €11m (£9m).
CCI predicted that overall Italian commercial refrigeration exports to Europe will grow 0.6% to €521m (£444m) in 2013, with almost 70% of purchases coming from the 28 members of the EU. Globally, sales are expected to reach €915m (£780m).
But it said export levels were still only 90% of what they were prior to the 2008 economic recession, indicating that the market hasn’t completely recovered.
By way of comparison, the export value of Italian pastry, pizza and oven equipment stands at around €400m (£341m), while exports of espresso coffee machines are valued at €255m (£217m).