Fontana Gruppo: 70 years of growth - FASTENER EUROPE MAGAZINE
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Fontana Gruppo: 70 years of growth

by Marco A. Guerritore
Editor in Chief Italian Fasteners magazine


More than one person has asked themselves: “But how did they do it?”.

How did they manage to grow a seedling in a small artisan business in Brianza into a majestic sequoia with roots firmly planted in the soil of three continents: Europe, Asia and the Americas? What is the key that unlocks the secret of this consolidated corporate expansion?

The first impulse is to think that everything is concentrated in the DNA of one particular family, united and above all, coordinated in achieving the strategic goals.

But it was Cav. Loris Fontana himself, years ago, when asked the prophetic question: “What is the secret behind Fontana’s uncontainable success?” who said, “I can answer this question briefly and succinctly. Our success is fundamentally linked to three things: great determination understood as the desire to constantly move forward, enthusiasm, and a great sense of the reality in which we live and work.”

Determination, enthusiasm and a sense of reality: the synthesis of success.

Three concepts that need to be carefully considered, but to which should certainly be added a fourth that, perhaps out of modesty, has been overlooked, i.e. entrepreneurial intuition, which the Fontana brothers possessed.

In 1952, Loris and Walter laid the foundations of what is today the “Fontana Gruppo”.

Fundamental to the growth of Fontana was the unwavering teamwork and collaboration of the brothers, Loris and Walter. Loris was reflective, discreet, highly skilled and attentive to the technical-production side of the company, while Walter was an extravert who enjoyed interacting with people and was highly skilled in public relations. In other words, the perfect integration of two different personalities.

The spirit and philosophy of the two founders are still an integral part of the Group, thus a guarantee of continuity. 

Today, 70 years after its foundation, Fontana has offices and  branches in 32 locations across Europe, the Americas and India, and 16 production sites. It employs over 4,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than 900 million euros.

However, Fontana means more than just nuts and bolts. Over time, it has expanded its operations into various sectors, including the hotel industry. The jewel in the crown is the “Hotel Villa d’Este” in Cernobbio, where the official 70th-anniversary celebration of “Fontana Luigi SpA” took place on 25 November 2022.

The setting at Villa d’Este was perfect, beautifully decorated for Christmas it offered a stunning and extremely elegant style.

The numerous guests: friends, representatives from the worlds of industry and finance, as well as local and national administrative organisations, first met in the large appetiser room. For those present, it was an opportunity to renew contacts, greet each other and rekindle old friendships.

At the end of the appetisers, the guests – after walking through a long gallery beautifully adorned with Christmas decorations – found themselves in the banquet hall where a large number of round tables, each seating eight guests, had been exquisitely prepared.

Needless to say, the Chef presented the best of his art in the preparation of the menu, winning the approval of all those present.

Near the end of the banquet, Giuseppe Fontana took the floor to extend his personal welcome and that of the entire Fontana family to the guests present. He then briefly retraced the history of the Fontana family, emphasising in particular the personality and temperament of this father Loris and Uncle Walter, the true promoters of the initiative that today is called the “Fontana Gruppo.” A worldwide reality whose continued growth and constant vitality are ensured by the efforts of the second generation of the family consisting of Enio, Luigi and Giuseppe. On the horizon, the third generation is already starting to assert itself in the Group with Fabrizio, Enio’s son and Alberto, Giuseppe’s son.

Although the “Fontana Gruppo” operates all over the world, Giuseppe Fontana points out that it remains strongly linked to the Brianza area and in this context has launched numerous important charity and social welfare programmes.

Enio then took the floor and spoke about the significance of the anniversary that was being celebrated: 70 years of “Fontana Luigi SpA”.

“Usually these celebrations,” said Enio, “only leave a beautiful memory. Instead, Fontana wanted to commemorate the anniversary with a special postmark created specifically for this occasion with Poste Italiane, which is sure to be a great acquisition for many collectors. 

But the climax, the highest point, was reached with the publication of a special limited-edition book of photographs by the world-famous photographer, Maurizio Galimberti.

In this book, which tells the story of the Group, Galimberti has skilfully managed to reveal the mysterious artistic, fantastic and surreal aspect of what ordinary people see as a mechanical connecting piece. Those who leaf through the pages of the book find themselves immersed in a new world, one that pleases the eye and soothes the soul, in other words, they find themselves “Inside the Cathedral of work”.

The Fontana Presidency made its mark in UPIVEB 

It’s not possible to talk about Enio Fontana without mentioning that in parallel with his company commitments, he also responsibly held the position of UPIVEB President for fifteen years. 

During his long tenure, he gave new impetus to the Association, giving it the organisational shape that still characterises it today. 

He spearheaded numerous important initiatives and innovations, such as broadening the membership base and creating a new organic operational system; in other words, he renewed and modernised the association.

With conviction, he promoted communication activities within the association and created the official UPIVEB website. One of his most significant achievements was the publication of the “Italian Fasteners” magazine. First launched in 1994, it is now close to reaching its 100th issue, equivalent to 28 years of uninterrupted activity.

Enio also did a lot for UPIVEB at an international level and, in general the entire Italian fastener industry, participating in many conferences dedicated to the sector and collaborating in working groups within the European Community aimed at safeguarding and defending the interests of the category.

He has played and continues to play an important role as Vice President of the EIFI, the European organisation that represents the various national associations of  European fastener producers.