Zobele chemical industries: The evolution of a family company from flypaper to globalization (1919-2001)

Pier A. Abetti, Phillip H. Phan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Zobele, located in Trento, Northern Italy, was founded in 1919 by Enrico Zobele Sr., who became famous when he invented his first "killer product" in 1930-flypaper. After the Second World War, the bombed-out factory was rebuilt by his sons, Luigi and Fulvio, who introduced new products for home hygiene and home care. The company globalized under the joint leaderships of Chief Executive Enrico Jr., son of Luigi, and Franco and Giovanni, sons of Fulvio. In 2001, Zobele Chemical Industries reported sales of US$75 million with profits of US$5.1 million. The company had 700 employees, factories in Italy, Spain, Brazil, Paraguay, India, Hong Kong, Mexico, and Malaysia with continuing expansions in Italy and China. This is a case study of the Zobele family and Zobele Chemical Industries, their past history, and present status. It centers on the challenges they face in ensuring global leadership in their served market niches, while maintaining the continuity of family ownership and control. This case presents the practical implications for family enterprises in their attempts to meet the challenges of a globalized marketplace.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-600
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business Venturing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Family company
  • Globalization
  • Zobele chemical industries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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