The origins of the Group go back to the beginning of the 1920's, when Piero Nulli and his uncle Angelo Ferrario acquired a shareholding in the company "Cappuccini Spa", based in Bovisa, near Milan; specialising in the manufacturing of refrigerating systems. Within a few years, Piero Nulli, a chemical engineer, steered the company to shift its focus from the mechanical to the chemical sector, building a new plant for the production of sulphur dioxide (which at the time was used as a refrigerant).
The availability of sulphur dioxide, a long-established ingredient in winemaking, opened the door to the winemaking industry.
Operations servicing the winemaking industry were soon expanded to include SO2 derivatives and the manufacture and sale of winemaking equipment.
The company is joined by Piero Nulli's younger siblings; Oreste, Paolo, Gino, Maria (covering commercial and administrative roles) and last but not least in 1939 by Emanuele, who, as an industrial chemist, took over his elder brother Piero's lead in the technological development of industrial production.
In 1941, following the departure of Mr. Cappuccini, the company changed its name to "F.lli Nulli, successori di ing. Cappuccini".
During the Second World war, the workshop for the manufacture of winemaking equipment moved from Milan to Treviglio to protect it from potential bomb damage, whilst the chemical plants remained at the Milan Bovisa site, to avoid any disruption to the production of sulphur dioxide and its derivates.
In 1951, the company changed its name to "F.lli Nulli Spa".
In 1958, a pyrite-roasting fluidised-bed furnace was installed, representing world-leading state-of-the-art technology.
In the same year, a plant was commissioned for the production of sulphuric acid through catalysis.
View of the San Martino di Trecate site - Year 1968
In 1963, an industrial site in San Martino di Trecate, near Novara, was purchased by the company for the installation of finished products warehousing.
In 1968, the company was able to secure an important opportunity for growth and expansion by securing a contract with the chemical company Montecatini for the supply of liquid sulphur dioxide to all of the group's plants. Following the signing of the contract, Montecatini ceased all production operations at its facility in Linate, near Milan, and in 1969, F.lli Nulli set up its first plant for the production of SO2 from pyrite on the San Martino di Trecate site. The original supply contract was signed for a minimum period of five years. This agreement remains in place today, although only for the supply of SO2 to Montecatini's former plant in Novara (later transferred by Montedison to other industrial groups) for the production of sodium hydrosulphite.
In 1970, the company was joined by Piero Nulli (chemical engineer), whose responsibilities were initially focused on industrial operations with particular emphasis on the installation of new plants for the production of SO2 derivatives: sulphites, thiosulphates, bisulphites and metabisulphites (sodium, ammonium and potassium).
1985 A strategy for vertical integration in the sulphur supply chain was launched. No longer regarding sulphur simply as the main raw material for its Trecate operations, the company moved into sulphur trading and began providing logistical services to the Italian sulphur generating oil refineries (transport, storage, solidification and melting).
1988 Acquisition of the majority shareholding in Ever srl, a Treviso-based company supplying products and services to the winemaking industry.
1988 The company changed its name from Esseodue to Esseco and began undertaking a series of strategic company acquisitions outside of Trecate.
Three other important events took place in the same year:
- The acquisition of a depot in Borgolavezzaro near Novara, to be used for the storage of finished products.
- The creation of a depot in Macchiareddu near Cagliari, for the storage of sulphur produced by the Sarroch oil refinery together with the installation of a plant for the crushing of sulphur on behalf of Zolfindustria.
- The formation of a joint venture (Svecodue) for the supply of products to the leather tanning industry.
- In 1996, the growth of sulphur-related operations led to the acquisition of Agrindustria, a company based in San Cipriano Po near Pavia. The company was later renamed Zolfindustria.
Following acquisition, Zolfindustria saw continuous growth in Sulphur sales to global destinations for use in both the rubber and agricultural industries.
- In 1997, the company was joined by Francesco Nulli (chemical engineer), whose initial responsibilities were focused on industrial operations within the San Martino di Trecate site. In 2008 Francesco Nulli was appointed the Managing Director of Esseco Srl.
- The company's internationalisation process began with a series of important foreign acquisitions:
1990 Acquisition of "Martin Vialatte Oenologie", a company based in Champigny (France) who developed their operations for the supply of products for the French winemaking market.
1993 Acquisition of Oenotechnique de Champagne (SOEC), a company based in Epernay, France.
1999 Acquisition of Sepsa S.A. (now Enartis Sepsa). A Spanish company specialising in the supply of products for the winemaking industry, based in Vilafranca del Penedès.
1999 Acquisition of Oenofrance, a company based in Bordeaux.
2001 Installation of a plant for the generation of electricity recovered from the heat generated during sulphur combustion. The electricity generated not only met the energy requirements of the Trecate site but also generated enough excess electricity to be sold to the Italian national grid.
2002 Following in-depth research using highly advanced technology, the company installed a new SA3 plant for the production of sodium metabisulphite using an innovative production process designed to provide significant energy savings.
2003 Formation of EGC - Esseco General Chemical LLC, a joint venture between Esseco and General Chemical Corporation (one of the main manufacturers of sulphur derivatives in North America) for the sale and distribution of sodium metabisulphite, sodium sulphite and sodium thiosulphate to the North American market.
2003 Formation of Ever Brasil, a company involved in the production and distribution of products for the winemaking industry in South America.
2003 Launch of Enartis, Esseco's new brand for its range of products for the winemaking industry.
2004 Re-organisation of the company's structure, with the formation of the industrial holding company Esseco Group which included all of the Group's manufacturing and commercial activities both in Italy and abroad.