1920 - 1969: Acquisitions and consolidations

Growth and consolidation

The years between 1920 and 1950 were very prosperous for the worldwide tannin extracts industry. The tanning business was constantly expanding into many application areas and while the chrome salts had limited use, most of the tanning industry was focused on heavy articles that required large quantities of tannins. In 1949 the world consumption of tannin extracts reached a record total volume of 450,000 tons.

After 1955, tannin consumption decreased and the increase in the costs led to a process of consolidation of the manufacturing facilities. The tanning companies started to respond to this decline by having bigger production facilities at a lower cost to compete with the increasing use of chrome salts in tanning. This was an inevitable process for many sectors of the tanning industry, even though it moved the leather away from the natural product that had been used for centuries. Jemina & Battaglia, instead of abandoning tannin production initiated a merger and acquisition strategy which resulted in the structure that is the Silvateam Group today.

Jemina & Battaglia and Ledoga become Industria Chimica Legno

In 1960, Ledoga and Jemina & Battaglia decided to merge their chestnut extract businesses, thus creating Industria Chimica Legno, owned 50% by each group. The agreement was signed by the Baron Guido Zerilli Marimò, on behalf of Lepetit, and by the engineer Andrea Battaglia, son of Carlo Giuseppe, accompanied by his children Carlo Giuseppe and Paolo and by the great-grandson of the Jemina brothers, Franco Caramelli, on behalf of Jemina & Battaglia.

This agreement established the consolidation of the entire chestnut tannins production of the Piedmont factories in a new plant in San Michele Mondovì (the current headquarters of Silvateam), the expansion of the plant in Bagni di Lucca (Tuscany) and the construction of a new plant in Rende (Calabria), reducing the number of Italian chestnut extract factories to only three.

This was a very important industrial re-organisation facilitated by the construction of a national highway system that allowed the easy transportation of wood even over long distances.