A total of seven companies of Almería in the natural stone industry attended a trade meeting and the `fair which was held Coverings', of 19 to the 21 April in Chicago (EE.UU.), in an action to promote the sector that the Ministry of Economy and Knowledge has organized, through Extend-Promotion Agency of Andalusia Exterior.
The activities agenda has been organized for a sector that grew in 2015 a 36% until 327,5 million, of which a 98% come from Almería. It has also been held in the North American market, which is the first for Andalusian natural stone, since the United States, with 128 million in exports, encompasses the 39% of total sales and has registered an increase of 45% with respect to 2014.
On the agenda of the activity, highlighted the celebration, day 19 April at the AIA headquarters (The Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects) from Chicago, of a presentation of the `Marca Macael´ which was attended by the president of the Andalusian Association of Marble Entrepreneurs (AEMA), Antonio Sanchez Tapia. The projects of the participating companies were also announced., in front of an audience of architects and designers, after which a networking session between the attendees took place.
Also, the delegation of Almería firms was able to attend conferences in the sample, such as the one dedicated to the situation of the stone industry, trends or design with natural stone; and also he had the opportunity to meet with agents and importers in the sector in North America. Among the more than fifteen Americans they were as professional firms Marble and Beyond, Altura Stone and Tile, USA April, Interceramic USA o International Marble and Granite.
The firms almerienses participants were as follows: Gutierrez Mena, Marbles camera, Marbles Sotomar, Marbles Luis Sánchez, Cuellar Architecture, Frames Macael y Crumar Project. Also, the delegation could also visit the Merchandise Mart building `Chicago' where they contacted showrooms responsible for natural stone Granite and Marble Resources, Exquisite Surfaces o De Giulio Design.
Finally, last day 21 April, the almerienses firms also held meetings in Chicago with architectural studios and distributors as Paris Ceramics, AS , STL Architects o Stone City.
`Coverings´ is one of the main fairs in the sector worldwide and in its latest edition it had the participation of 1.094 exhibitors from 41 countries and 25.000 professional visitors, a 11% more than in the previous edition held in the city of Las Vegas. This mission has had the support of the Extenda Business Promotion Offices in Miami and New York. Extenda's participation in this event will be co-financed in a 80% with funding from the European Union, under the ERDF Operational Programme Andalusia 2014-2020.
Natural stone exports
According to data from Extenda, in 2015 Andalusian sales of natural stone have been 327,5 million, with growth of 36% about 2014, with what the community is leading the national sales 47% of total, 20 points above the next, the C. Valencian (27% of total) and 33 points above the third, Galicia (14% of total).
Furthermore, it should be noted that the 98% these sales came from Almería, ie practically all, 322 million with an interannual increase of 36%. They also recorded sales, although to a much lesser extent, in second position Córdoba (1,7 million), Malaga (1,3 million), and Cadiz (1,1 million).
As for the markets, in 2015 Andalusian sales of natural stone grew in nine of the top ten, with the leadership of the United States, in first position, with 128 million (39% of total) and an increase of 45% with respect to 2014; followed by the UK (47 million) which also grew 64%; and Australia (14,2 million) and an increase of 40%.
Regarding the products, first are cement manufactures, concrete and artificial stone, with 270 million (82% of total) and an increase of 33%; followed by other ceramic articles (34 million), they almost double their sales (+86%); and marble, travertine and alabaster worked and articles thereof, with 9,5 million and a rise of 26% with respect to 2014.
As for the number of Andalusian exporting companies in this sector, a 3,7% in 2015 with respect to 2014 until 249 firms, of which fifty are regular exporters, figure that also increased by 8,7%.