“Jemina & Battaglia” and “Ledoga”, leaders of the new tannin industry
Central names in the story of the Silvateam Group, Jemina & Battaglia and Ledoga are companies that, between the two centuries, dominated the tannin industry in Piedmont and whole of Italy. Having acquired the Corsaglia (1854) factory, Jemina & Battaglia in a few years had expanded to three other locations in the Cuneo area: Pamparato (1856), Frabosa (1872) and Mondovì (1906). Ledoga was founded in Susa (Turin) in 1868 by Roberto Emilio Lepetit, Alberto Dolfuss and Augusto Gansser (whose surnames initials compose the acronym which still survive today as the brand name of many Silvateam products). A few years later, the company became the main producer of tannin extracts in Italy, and the capacities grew during the following 50 years with the establishment of 5 new plants.
The two companies enjoyed the exceptional growth of the Piedmont tanning industry. At that time they were one of the largest and most advanced in the world, and which quickly replaced textiles as the main market for the tanning manufacturers. Under the energetic guidance of Carlo Giuseppe Battaglia, who in 1913 became the managing director of the Group and his son, the engineer Andrea Battaglia, Jemina & Battaglia established a series of important alliances and investments.
This 30 year strategy, which included an important distribution agreement signed in 1915 with Ledoga, turned Jemina & Battaglia into the most important tannin producer in the world.
Argentina the new frontier: La Escondida plant is built
In the meantime, in 1904, Carlos Noetinger and Roberto Emilio Lepetit founded Noetinger & Lepetit in Buenos Aires with the idea of exporting quebracho wood to the Dufour & Lepetit factory of Sampierdarena (Genova, Italy), where it would be turned into tannins. Once the Argentinean government granted a concession to them for 120,000 hectares of forest in the Chaco region, the company started to export the Argentinean wood. The extract from this wood was increasingly required by the tanning industry, one of the main sectors of Italian industry.
In 1925 the Argentinean government stopped the export of unprocessed timber resulting in construction of La Escondida factory, which is still today one of the main production facilities of Silvateam.
Other companies followed this example during the decade, creating a quebracho extract industry which paved the way for the first colonisation of Northern Argentina. Designed for a capacity of 8,000 tonnes annually, the La Escondida factory already at this time had a production capacity that was greater than the ones for chestnut extract.