F.I.L.A. Group

The future is multicolour

Our History

F.I.L.A. Portrait of a great Italian group worldwide.

The origins of F.I.L.A. Fabbrica Italiana Lapis ed Affini date back to 1920. In almost a century of history, a combination of real innovation coupled with a passion for creativity and commitment have given birth to one of the leading world groups dedicated to creative expression, with a broad range of brands and thousands of products on the markets of every continent.

Creativity. Since 1920.
The 80s and 90s. The force of innovation.
From 2000 to today. The Group.

23 JUNE 1920: FABBRICA ITALIANA LAPIS ED AFFINI FOUNDED IN FLORENCE.

1920 Count Giuseppe della Gherardesca is the company’s first president. Severo Pozzati (Sepo) designs the company emblem inspired by the Fiorentine lily.

1921 The Tasca and Orion brands are registered for copying and drawing pencils.

1922 The catalogue features one hundred items including copying pencils, lead and coloured pencils, two-colour pencils and accessories, such as brass and nickel pencil caps.

1925 The Giotto range of colouring pencils is launched.

1928 FILA organizes the first annual national school competition for colour and black & white drawings.

1933 The image depicting Giotto drawing on astone under the gaze of Cimabue is created (and registered). From then onwards it would appear on all Giotto brand products, becoming an iconic reference in the collective imagination.

1938 The FILA catalogue expands its range of pencils and crayons along with its number of accessories, such as mechanical pencils, pencil leads and penholders.

1939 FILA acquires SIR (Stabilimenti Italiani Riuniti) in Imola, whose main business activity is the manufacture of chalk sticks.

1944 Sepo’s design depicting a head with a pencil behind the ear, dating back to the early 1930s, is registered as a logo which would be used until 1974.

1952 FILA signs an agreement with Lyra Italiana, FIM (Fabbrica Inchiostri e Matite) and Presbitero for the sale of advertising pencils. F.I.L.A. patents the “Sferon” ballpoint pen.

1956 After acquiring Lyra Italiana in 1953, Renato Candela becomes shareholder of FILA.

1961 FILA produces felt-tip pens for the first time, the Scrifix, and the Fila Fibra which can be used for writing on ceramics.

1962 Penfix, FILA’s first refillable felt-tip pen is launched.

1964 Alberto Candela joins his father Renato, who had been leading the company for 8 years.

1965 The Giotto range is extended with the Giotto Feltro marker in 12 different colours.

1966 Lyra Fabbrica Italiana Matite S.p.A. is incorporated into Fabbrica Italiana Lapis ed Affini S.p.A.. The administrative headquarters are moved from Florence to Milan.

1971 Production of the Giotto Fibra marker with synthetic tip begins in an assortment of 24 colours.

1973 In the new factory in Limbiate (MI), FILA starts the production of make-up pencils.

1974 Giorgio Macchi designs the new FILA trademark emblem, a new stylized version of the Fiorentine lily.

1975 Launch of the Tratto Pen, a revolutionary fineliner for writing and drawing.

1979 The Tratto line, to which Tratto Clip was added in 1977, wins the Compasso d’Oro, (the world’s oldest and most prestigious industrial design award) for its design and functionality.

1985 The Giotto Turbo Color and Giotto Turbo Maxi range of markers enters the market.

1986 Birth of the Tema line. One of the most representative products in the line is the Temagraph lead pencil, defined as “the perfect pencil”. This product would change its appearance over the years and is still in production.

1991 Massimo Candela becomes CEO of FILA, taking over from his father Alberto, who becomes President Emeritus of the company.

1994 FILA acquires the historic Adica Pongo company from Mondadori; founded in 1960 is the owner of the Pongo, Didò and DAS brands.

1998 The FILA factory in Florence, operational since 1920, moves its production activities to a new plant in Rufina.

2000 FILA acquires the French company Omyacolor SA, the world’s leading manufacturer of chalk sticks for writing and colouring as well as an important company in the field of drawing, colouring and modelling products.

2002 FILA acquires Papeleria Mediterranea SI., which had already been acting as exclusive distributor in Spain since 1997. lt is the Group’s first foreign branch. Now, in 2020, there are 35.

2004 Birth of Giotto be-bè, a line of colours designed for children aged 2 to 5 that revolutionizes the market of art materials for use in early childhood.

2005 FILA sets foot in the United States, Canada and Mexico through the acquisition of Dixon Ticonderoga Company, a world leader in the manufacture of lead pencils for writing and drawing.

2008 FILA acquires the German company, LYRA. Founded in 1806 in Nuremberg, LYRA is one of the oldest brands in the world. A name which is synonymous with excellence and quality.

2010 Acquisition of the Mexican company, Lapicera Mexicana, producer of coloured and lead pencils, the Brazilian company, Lycin, manufacturer of modelling and painting products and a minority share in the lndian company, Writefine Products Private (today DOMS lndustries) (a majority stake would later be acquired in 2015).

2011 To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Unification of ltaly, FILA produces Unita, the official pencil of the Comitato Italia 150 (ltaly 150 Committee).

2014 Industria Maimeri is established, a joint venture between FILA and Maimeri, an ltalian company founded in 1923 to manufacture and market fine arts colours and accessories.

2015 FILA is listed in the STAR segment of the Milan stock exchange. This marks the beginning of a new strategic approach and growth on a global level.

2015 FILA celebrates EXPO Milano 2015 by launching a limited edition collection of its most iconic brands – FILA, Giotto, Tratto and Didò.

2016 FILA acquires the historic British group Daler-Rowney Lukas, a world leader in the Arts & Crafts sector, St. Cuthberts Holding Limited, an English paper mill located in south-west England which has been manufacturing top quality drawing paper since the 1700s, and the French company Canson. Founded in 1557 by Jacques Montgolfier (an ancestor of the famous Montgolfier brothers who invented the hot air balloon), Canson is one of the most prestigious companies in the world for the production and distribution of high value-added papers for fine arts, school and hobby activities.

2018 FILA consolidates its growth strategy by acquiring 100% of the Pacon Group (US), a prominent operator in the educational and Arts & Crafts market, which includes the legendary Princeton and Strathmore brands.

2020 In March FILA acquires, from the Ahlstrom-Munksjö Group, the company branch specialised in the production of premium papers for artists and operating under the trademark ARCHES®.

2020 The Ministry of Economic Development issues a definitive stamp dedicated to FILA, as a part of the “Excellence in the productiveand economic system” series.

Vision and Mission

Vision
F.I.L.A. firmly believes in the world of colour and individual creative expression. For this reason, in order to become the key international group in the sector, it aims to offer an ever wider and more innovative range of products and brands. Achieving this position through the strongest, most beneficial and long term positive partnerships with all of its stakeholders. From suppliers to employees, and from distributors to the end customer, because they are all fundamental to its development.

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Mission
Day by day, to turn its vision into a solid reality. F.I.L.A. will direct its focus to developing sustainable long term solutions for production, distribution and sales for its growing family of Brands. Achieving these aims will give each and every one of us the opportunity and pleasure of expressing ourselves creatively at any time in our lives. F.I.L.A. will ensure the quality, safety, ease of use and ready availability for all of its products.

Us at a Glance

CSR

Creating and sharing value for children on all continents.

Ever since 1920, the prime aim of F.I.L.A. Fabbrica Italiana Lapis ed Affini has consisted in offering children and young people the best tools to express their creativity, and guaranteeing parents and teachers excellent, safe products. They are the first company “shareholders” and stakeholders and so are the institutes and organizations that work for the well-being and the growth “in colour” of the younger generations. This is why, for several years now, F.I.L.A. and the companies in the Group have been expressing their social commitment by collaborating with the Institutions and alongside operators, and supporting educational and cultural projects

that share the common objective of promoting creativity and the expressive capacity of individuals and making culture an opportunity that can be accessed by everyone.
F.I.L.A. is likewise convinced that each country in which it operates must have the chance to contribute to the innovation and common growth through its own heritage and its own “diversities”: in the process of acquiring the companies that today make up the Group and represent it on all continents, protecting multiculturalism – respecting people and local identities – represents a guiding value and an invaluable growth opportunity.

PEOPLE

Our personnel is an important element for the competitiveness and development of the group and, as a consequence of our strategy of growth through acquisition pursued over the years, company population is rapidly and constantly increasing.

The FILA Group is present all over the world, with 51 branches on all 5 continents, 35 of which are operational, with 21 production sites and more than 9,500 people at end-2018.

47% of the workforce is female, a figure in line with 2017, and they account for more than 70% of the part-time contracts.

In respect of our international presence, most of the FILA Group personnel works in Asia (more than 61.6% of the Group’s personnel at end-2018, in line with the previous year), followed by Central and South America (19.5%), Europe (11.3%), North America (7.3%), and the rest of the world (0.3%). The greatest company population corresponds to those countries where the group’s main production sites are located (India, China and Mexico).

Group policy worldwide regarding human resources management favours promoting the internal growth of our people, developing their professional skills and stimulating their sense of belonging.

For our group, enhancement of personnel is an essential requisite for continuing to operate successfully. In this context, diversity of gender and thought is regarded as an element for consideration as it is a source cultural and professional enrichment.

For more details, see “Important aspects of employee management”.

EDUCATION

Actively participating in children’s and young people’s harmonic growth and artistic education is one of the mainstays of the Group’s mission, and it translates into the creation of schools programmes, teaching workshops, editorial projects for teachers and creativity competitions, in line with the culture and the special needs of the territory and in collaboration with expert educators and organizations. In some countries, the Group earmarks large quantities of product each year for foundations that safeguard the rights to education of disadvantaged children; one of these is the KINF – the Kids in Need Foundation – which reaches out to 4 million children a year in the United States. In Mexico, collaborations with non-profit organizations such as Sanando Heridas, Dibujando un Mañana and Fundacion Azteca have been in place for many years.

For more details, see “Other social topics”.

GROWTH

The growth of the F.I.L.A. Group, which increased from a turnover of 20 million Euro in 1993 to over 600 million in 2018, is based on three main levers: the acquisition of excellent brands with great traditions in the sector of instruments for writing, drawing, modelling and graphic arts; the opening of sales branches in markets with high potential; and product innovation.

On this last front, F.I.L.A. Italia alone can be credited with historic innovations, such as the invention in the early 1970s of the TrattoPen, winner of the Compasso d’Oro in 1979 and displayed in the New York MoMa, and revolutionary intuitions like Giotto be-bè, the first complete and safe range of colours dedicated to children from 2 years upwards – it was introduced in 2003 to develop creativity through play and colour and in no time at all it became a favourite of mums and nursery schools. And again, because of its strong innovative component, the Lyra Color Stripe range of crayons was honoured in 2009 with the prestigious ““Red Dot Best of the Best” award for design and Lyra Groove received the “Red Dot Honourable Mention” for its unique and unusual design details.

ENVIRONMENT

The FILA Group carries out its business in 21 production sites located in the same geographic areas it does business (Italy, France, Germany, Great Britain, Brazil, Mexico, Dominican Republic, China, India, USA and Canada). Production activity is subject to the regulations in force in each country governing environmental protection and health and safety in the workplace.

Protection of the natural environment in carrying out and developing our activity is not only a consequence of compliance with the relevant regulations, it is also one of the group’s central values, laid down in our Code of Ethics, which explicitly declares safeguarding the environment as a cornerstone principle for our conduct.

For more details, see “Primary aspects of an environmental nature”.

SOCIETY

The presence of the F.I.L.A. Group’s brands, most often with the “Educational Partner” or “Official Colour” formula, is strong and rooted in the main sites and events that play an innovative and proactive role in the cultural fabric of the countries, with particular attention being given to children and young people. For many years now, in Italy, F.I.L.A. has been working alongside big international events like Giffoni Film Festival, the Mantua Festivaletteratura, Lucca Comics, the Venice Biennale, and with permanent institutions such as Teatro alla Scala, the Museo degli Innocenti and the MUSE in Florence and the MUBA – Museo del Bambino – in Milan.