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Pescia: The three-times-born paper mill, opened by Italian owners, sold to a foreign company, and then returned “home”

Posted By:20/05/2015

It is a company born twice. Nearly a century later. The second birth was in 1946.

It is a company born twice. Nearly a century later. The second birth was in 1946. Two years before, the German army retreating towards the Gothic Line found a gun loader abandoned next to the little bridge of the Pescia , which leads to the Boschi di Chievi paper mill. For the Wehrmacht officers, those munitions were the evident proof that the factory hosted a group of anti-fascist partisans. Therefore, they decided to undermine the paper mill. The family, owner of the mill, was gathered beyond the bridge, when the explosion destroyed everything. The name of the owner was Ezio Carrara; two years after the explosion he said proudly: "The Bridge and paper mill were rebuilt from every component fo the Carrara family, from young and old ones, each with their own forces."

When Ezio died, in 1956, Mario remains the sole owner of the original firm. However, it does not remain the sole owner for a long time. In fact, in the early sixties, the brothers decide to manage the paper mill together. The aim is to take over in equal parts the San Felice mill, near Pistoia, located in the Ombrone valley. With thirty employees, the mill is a small industry, which produces duplex and triplex cardboards, shoeboxes, die-cut, trays for cakes, collars for shirts; to sum up it produced called packing paper. The world of paper, in fact, is divided into three. At the top is the one for printing and writing. Then there is the packaging one. The third sector is now called "tissue" and includes all hygienic and sanitary products dealing with personal care. In those years he is about to explode.

In Italy, the toilet paper came with the war and US army, and for some times, it was used exclusively by Americans. It happened, however, that a big German supermarket chain, Aldi, decided to rebel against this domain, relying on European manufacturers, particularly Italian. So, in Lucca it was born and flourished the paper district. For the industry, it is a crucial moment.

Even Mario Carrara soon realized the potential of toilet paper.So he tried to gain market shares by differentiating the production. At the time, the standard machine was 180 cm long. He aimed to widen it, so it ordered a machinery in the United States nearly triple in size, which would be the first for Italy. By using this machine, he could multiply the production and adapt it to a “mass” level. It is about to sign the deal, when the American company backtracks. He will have to wait ten years to have a similar plant. "However, the market exploded in his hands. He got to produce 400,000 tons of tissue paper per year, not only in Italy but also in France, Spain and England, "s ays Marco today. The company expanded, bought a paper mill in Castelnuovo Garfagnana, then other plants in Capannori and Lucca. In the late Seventies, it was created CartoInvest, a holding company that grouped the various paper mills. Moreover, in a short time, he got the license for Italy to produce the Kleenex brand.

In 2002, the business was sold. The Swedish SCA, number two worldwide in the tissue industry, bought the mills. The family remains owner of some small plants, including the historic paper mill located in Boschi di Chievi.

Four years later, the family repurchases almost all the paper mills. They change their core business from toilet paper to AFH products. Now they are the eighth producers of tissue paper in the world and one of the most ancient families of paper producers.


Source: Il Corriere della Sera

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