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Novi chocolate: a long Italian (not Swiss) story

Novi’s story is bittersweet, as the company has experienced periods of growth and difficult times throughout its 120-year history. But with resilience and entrepreneurial know-how, it is back at the top.

reading time4 minutes

We know that Novi chocolate is not Swiss. Less well known, however, is its long history, which began in 1903 when the historic Made in Italy chocolate factory was founded in the centre of Novi Ligure (AL) as a cooperative society under the name ‘FICC Fabbrica italiana confiture cioccolato e affini’.

An uphill start

The company was founded by 60 partners with the precise objective of transforming Novi Ligure into an industrial hub. But times were not good, and the new company was faced with the difficulties of the First World War and the difficult years immediately after the war. At this point, however, Giacomo Rossignotti stepped in and relaunched production and boosted the business thanks to a series of interventions.

Giacomo Rossignotti and the Golden Years

Production continued to grow until 1933-1934, which coincided with a quantum leap: 310 employees, 454 members, and more than 1000 tons of products. In 1935, a new factory was built, and 90 per cent of the machinery was replaced with state-of-the-art equipment. In 1936, production reached 16 million kg of chocolate, candies, and sugared almonds.

Crisis and recovery in the post-war period

Novi went through the difficulties of the Second World War still under Rossignotti’s leadership and continued to grow until the 1960s when the first signs of decline began. Wrong business policies and disagreements between shareholders, as well as Rossignotti’s death in 1980, were the causes of Novi’s darkest period, which officially ended in 1985 when it was taken over, reorganised and relaunched by Piedmontese entrepreneur Flavio Repetto, born in 1931 in Lerma (Al), founder and chairman of the Italian Confectionery Group Elah Dufour Novi.

It is spelt Novi, it reads chocolate

Under Repetto’s management, Novi abandoned the production of jams and focused only on high-quality chocolate bars made with fine cocoa beans. A visionary and enlightened entrepreneur, Repetto managed to unite his 700 Piedmontese hazelnut suppliers into a cooperative. For his great sensitivity and his undisputed ability to bring companies from bankruptcy to success, he was appointed Cavaliere del Lavoro by Sandro Pertini in 1985.

Today, Novi (Elah Dufour Group), led by CEO Guido Repetto, produces more than 200 million chocolates and over 100 million bars per year, with plants in Novi Ligure, Bra (CN) and Sassello (SV). It has hundreds of employees, sells in dozens of countries and has a turnover of hundreds of millions of Euros.

Congratulations to those who bring ‘great Italian chocolate’ to the world!

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