“We invest in Italy and grow abroad”. Half a billion goal – Corriere.it

“We invest in Italy and grow abroad”. Half a billion goal – Corriere.it
“We invest in Italy and grow abroad”. Half a billion goal – Corriere.it

Accelerate growth abroad to be stronger in Italy. In order to invest in the area, create jobs, focus on research and innovation, the only way to be competitive. And keep up with the multinationals of detergents and personal care products on the markets thanks to research that opens the doors of the future. The challenges with the big internationals – names like P&G, Reckitt Benkiser and Unilever – are well known to the entrepreneur Giovanni Sala who, with the Silva family, leads the Desa di Seregno group. For all Mr Degreaser. Behind the acronym of an articulated holding, which has one of its strengths in Chanteclair and which boasts over a century of history, there is a reality that is worth 325 million in revenues, grinds 56 of ebitda and 31 of net profit, with 450 employees. In fact a group of chemistry. Innovation at the center, with research activity in the three soap and detergent production plants.

The competitors

In an international market dominated by large consumer product realities, we bring 100% Made in Italy to foreign markets. We are in France, Switzerland, Eastern Europe and we also sell the Degreaser in China. Through these markets we make Italy grow. Where the group continues to look at acquisition opportunities, says Sala, 53, second generation of Lombard entrepreneurs, president of the subsidiary Real Chimica and member of Desa’s executive committee.


So the company has just drawn up a plan that aims to bring the weight of exports on turnover from the current 20 to 30% in about three years. Fuel that, according to the objectives, could bring revenues to half a billion even before five years.

Plus 10% per year

Every year – explains Sala – the turnover grows at a rate of 10%. The peak came in 2020 (up 13%) when the pandemic pushed families to disinfect their homes. Behind there is the Chanteclair degreaser, not a product for single use but universal, a liquid to clean almost anything. That is to say, 80 million bottles of detergent – which are worth 50% of the Italian market produced in Sant’Agata Bolognese, one of the four factories of the group that processes powders in Seregno, in Caravaggio in liquid laundry detergents and in Fara Olivana (Bergamo ) makes the plastic bottles. From these plants come Chanteclair, Spuma di Sciampagna, Quasar, Sauber, and then Persavon and La Perdrix to which Chanteclair Vert is added, a line of new generation products that indicate the direction taken towards the low environmental impact. While APropos, IcoPiuma, VistaPi are made by pharmaceutical subcontractors.


The Chanteclair house is the result of the integration over time of several entrepreneurial realities and their families. It was 1908 when the Ambrogio Silva soap factory was founded in Seregno for the production of laundry and toilet soaps. Then the production of powder and liquid detergents. Finally, the acquisitions. From the Spuma di Sciampagna for personal hygiene in 1989, then Chanteclair, a brand born in France where the group then bought Persavon and La Perdrix. So Sauber from Benckiser. A strong push for the growth of the group came from Roberto Silva, the entrepreneur who died two years ago. Now as president of Desa there is his brother Ambrogio who bears the same name as the grandfather who founded the group.

Acquisitions but also combinations of other entrepreneurial realities …
We have followed a path of inclusion of top companies in the supply chain, of their entrepreneurs because they integrated the business. For example, my family brought Realchimica which distributed Chanteclair products. Then came the Malagoli family from Modena, whose company was a subcontractor for the group in the production of liquid detergents. In 2002 the birth of the Desa holding of which we are all shareholders. And the aggregative path can continue.

And the governance?
C ‘Desa, with president Silva, who holds the shares and has an executive committee that gives strategic direction, acts as a sole director and proposes his choices to the shareholders’ meeting. Then in the individual wholly-owned subsidiaries there is an advice expressed by the CEO. a model of cohesion, alone it is difficult to grow, instead, unite, recognizing the entrepreneurial skills of each, create inclusion, thus creating a positive experience.

Not a complicated model?
In reverse. efficient because each company does its job, sets itself objectives and challenges to grow. On the other hand, it is natural that the longevity of a company creates complexity in the structure. We are organized as a multinational, we have everything in house, from chemicals to production to bottling and distribution. It also allows us good margins. Which also allow us to have stronger shoulders and face a playground than the world. The idea of ​​a Lombard company no longer exists, a global vision is needed.

There is a strong theme of rising prices, how do you deal with it?
To get an idea, the price of a cube of soap to work increased by 25%, but also that of wooden pallets, of chemistry in general. The increases make us worry so we decided to manage some activities differently. For example, we use more intermodal transport and less road transport. It helps to contain fuel costs and at the same time reduces the environmental impact, even if it sometimes takes longer. also for this reason that the country must accelerate investments for the modernization of infrastructures, this would help companies in this complicated phase.


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