Italy's textile machinery industry would have to make "certain clear and urgent decisions" in order to withstand currently difficult trading conditions, Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers (ACIMIT) chairman Alberto Sacchi said today.

Speaking at ACIMIT's annual general meeting in Milan, Sacchi confirmed that 2003 had been one of the most difficulty years yet for the sector, characterised by a seven per cent year-on-year fall in turnover.

He said individual companies within the sector would have to revise their business strategies in order to restore competitiveness.

"We must make certain clear and urgent decisions in relation to the management of the company, the organisation and the role of property within the companies," Sacchi said.

"It is also fundamental that businessmen manage to stimulate growth within the business culture in order to fully understand, and then tackle, the indispensable changes which must be made as a basic step on the road to renewed (competition) and not as a threat to the positions already acquired."

He added that the presence of Italian textile machinery companies in international markets had to become more structured and widespread, particularly in remote or difficult-to-cover areas.

Italian textile machinery makers collectively export about 75 per cent of their total output.