Cerve Group talks about the upcoming 70th anniversary of the company, recalling the almost one thousand years of history in the art of glassmaking and a family, Bormioli, that has represented the largest industry in Parma. We report the text of the article in full.

70 YEARS: in 2023 the world’s leading company in glass decoration will celebrate its 70th birthday.

Behind it, it has almost a thousand years of history in the art of glassmaking and a family, Bormioli, that has represented the largest industry in Parma and the third largest player in the world in the sector. Unlike its sister company, famous for both its past glories and the troubles of recent years, Cerve (a cross between the words Ceramics and Glass) will celebrate its 70th birthday next year with stability and understatement, even though it has many reasons to boast, from its world leadership in glass decoration to iconic design pieces, from the historic designed Nutella glasses to the legendary white vase decorated with blue Amarena Fabbri and the Chanel Coco Mademoiselle perfume bottle.

“Today we are a group of 600 employees plus another 150 people at least in the induced activities, we have a turnover of about one hundred million euros and we have six factories between Italy and Austria that process 4 million pieces a day,” says the president of Cerve Giovanni Bormioli from the headquarters in Parma. His father, Pierluigi, was the first to launch industrial glass decoration in Italy, in 1958, and in a world that still used paper labels, he brought to Italy from the United States the first semi-automatic machine to decorate glass, the Solar. Cerve has gone from tableware to bottles for the most emblazoned perfume and cosmetic houses; from bottles and glasses for large distilleries to vases and containers for Horeca marketing. “Until 2018 we have kept away from glass production, faithful to the Bormioli family’s choice, on the American model, to keep second processes separate. We are more typographers than glassmakers, and we deal with screen printing, sandblasting, acid etching, varnishing and applications, which are still our core business.” Then, four years ago, the company made the leap to acquire Technoglas of Voitsber, in Styria, an Austrian glassworks with over 160 years of experience and just as many employees, specializing in high-quality, tough pressed glass for technical uses in the automotive sector (headlights), measuring instruments and special applications. “The decision to move upstream in the supply chain is the result of the need to verticalize the supply chain to increase resilience in an increasingly complex market context,” Bormioli explains, “so as to guarantee customers full service for high-end items. Last year’s second M&A of the Vidivi – Vetri delle Venezie business unit, from the Vetrerie Riunite group of Verona, completed Cerve’s puzzle, because it allowed Austrian technologies to be dedicated to the production of the entire catalog of the historic Veneto-based premium tableware brand. “Now we have to consolidate the new set-up, with which we think we can grow up to 120 million euros in turnover and then we’ll see, there are other glassworks that could be interesting, always in the concept of integrating our technical capacity in the second processes with the glassworks,” explains Cerve’s number one. Today, Cerve is the only manufacturer of Montblanc perfume bottles (over 5 million bottles per year) and a world leader in the sector, which it contends with its French competitors. Like all European manufacturing, however, it is grappling with very high increases in energy and raw materials prices. “The prospects for this 2022 are good if we look at the order portfolio, but there is the price unknown: we have increased the price lists by 30-40%, as a result of the crazy increases that suppliers have presented us with, we expect that customers will not confirm all orders”, admits Bormioli. Bormioli has already forgotten about 2020, having closed 2021 with a growth of 2% over pre-Covid and is now ready for the green challenge, with the publication, this year, of the first official sustainability report. “Not only is glass an infinitely recyclable raw material, sustainable by nature – concludes Bormioli – but for the past 30 years, at Cerve we have been using organic enamels, patenting colors that require lower firing temperatures in order to reduce energy consumption and using exclusively water-based, solvent-free coatings. Even the Technoglas kiln is powered only by certified renewable energy (hydroelectric) and all the factories are lit by LEDs”.