ROSEMONT, ILL. — U.S. buyers could get a price break on European-made equipment, thanks to the falling euro currency, said several exhibitors at Plastics Fair Chicago.
So far, the fall of the 6-month-old euro has not resulted in broad-based price breaks. But some suppliers are including more options for the base price of their machines, and others credit the sliding exchange for helping them keep prices steady.
``If the trend were to continue in that direction, we may have the wherewithal to lower our prices in the market,'' said Michael Santa, executive vice president of Krauss-Maffei Corp.
The company in Florence, Ky., imports injection molding machines from its parent in Munich, Germany, Krauss-Maffei Kunststofftechnik GmbH.
The euro was introduced Jan. 1 as a common currency for 11 nations. During Plastics Fair Chicago, held June 15-17 at Rosemont Convention Center, the euro was worth about $1.03 — 15 percent below its opening value of $1.18. The euro hit its all-time low of $1.026, on June 7.
European countries, especially Germany, Italy and Austria, are major exporters of processing and auxiliary equipment.
Santa said Krauss-Maffei has not reduced prices yet. To avoid having to raise and lower prices to match daily currency markets, the U.S. operation reserves a block of money at a specified exchange rate. The Kentucky firm feels the currency impact when that money is used up, and it reserves at a different exchange rate, he said.
Since the euro is only 6 months old, ``the trend hasn't been long enough in duration for us to reduce our prices,'' Santa said.
But he added that Krauss-Maffei has not raised prices in four years.
``If anything, [the euro is] going to allow us the ability to keep ourselves price-competitive,'' he said.
The weak euro is good news for one U.S. newcomer, Austrian shredder maker Lindner GmbH. The firm made its debut at Plastics Fair Chicago, through its U.S. agent, Blades Machinery Co. Inc. of Elk Grove Village, Ill.
Product manager Michael Thomsen said Lindner prices shredders in euros for sale outside Austria. Prices range from $65,000-$225,000 for the shredders, which are used for recycling.
Like Krauss-Maffei, Lindner has not lowered prices yet. Thomsen said the firm adjusts prices about every six months. But the weak euro lets the firm, based in Spittal, Austria, add on more extras.
``We've been able to include all of the other options at the same price,'' Thomsen said.
Herbold Zerkleinerungstechnik GmbH of Meckesheim, Germany, continues to use the deutsche mark when it sells granulators to its U.S. subsidiary, Resource Recycling Systems Inc. of Smithfield, R.I. Sales executive Siegfried Engel pointed out the mark also has declined against the dollar, to about $1.90, near its 12-month low.
``Due to the exchange rate, we have, of course, an advantage,'' Engel said.
The euro's plunge has disappointed politicians in Europe, who had hoped the euro would rival the U.S. dollar as a strong global currency. Engel said the still-young euro needs more time to find its natural value against the dollar. Then it will stabilize, he said.
High-level concerns have not filtered down to average Europeans, Engel said, because they still have local currency in their pockets, not euros. The new coins and bills will be issued by 2002.