MEXICO CITY (Oct. 10, 1:30 p.m. ET) — Austria's family-run Wittmann Group is enjoying its most successful year in Mexico, where it has distributed robots and peripheral equipment for the plastics industry since 1998, according to Michael Wittmann, son of company founder Werner Wittmann.
Wittmann said sales in the country will total about $10 million, compared with about $7 million pre-2008, when a “major slowdown” occurred. Customers who have bought from the company in Mexico this year include French auto industry supplier Valeo, he said.
“There was no investment [in Mexico] in 2009 and this delay in investment has to be compensated for and it was compensated for in the second half of 2010 and the first half of 2011,” Wittmann said. “This year is fantastic for everyone in the industry. It's our [Wittmann's] best year.”
Michael Wittmann, who is the general manager of Wittmann Kunststoffgerate GmbH of Vienna, wondered whether the recovery will last. “I don't think it will, certainly not at this level,” he said, answering his own question.
The group, which took over the Battenfeld injection business in 2008, sees much potential in Mexico “and injection molding machines will have the biggest share of the growth,” Wittmann said.
The automotive industry represents 60-65 percent of the group's global business, according to Wittmann. “Here in Mexico it's about 40 percent of group turnover,” said Rodrigo Muñoz, manager of Wittmann Battenfeld México SA de CV.
Asked whether widespread criminal activity in Mexico in recent years has affected customers' investment decisions, Muñoz said: “I've not witnessed any postponement or cancellation of projects as a result of the violence.”