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Europe bounces back as global drives sales strengthen

01 June, 2006

The worldwide market for AC and DC drives recorded its strongest growth for a decade during 2004 and 2005, says a new report. The analysis, by IMS Research, reveals that the biggest surprise was the European market which achieved a double-digit growth during 2005 - surpassed only by China. The strong European figures were driven by export sales to China, North America and China.

According to IMS, the global drives market was strong last year across all product categories, in all power ranges, and in all regions (see graph above). Revenue in the Asia-Pacific region grew by 16.2% to reach $1.34bn, while sales in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region rose by 11.5% to reach $2.48bn. In the Americas, revenues expanded by 10% to hit $1.37bn, while Japan recorded a growth rate of just 5.9% to achieve total sales of $601m.

"The manufacturing boom in China, big increases in spending around the globe in an effort to get base commodities out of the ground, and higher energy prices pushing demand for energy efficiency, all helped push all regional drives markets higher," says IMS analyst Steve Odom.

While there are no signs of an imminent slowdown in the EMEA drives market, results from the first quarter of 2006 (above) show that the North American market experienced its slowest growth for five quarters. Whether this is the start of continuing decline or a quarterly aberration remains to be seen, says IMS.

It points out, however, that after back-to-back years of well above average growth, a slowdown at some point of 2006 would not be surprising.

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