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SAIF History: Decades of Excellence in Energy Sector


Right from its establishment, in 1982, Saif has seen a growth that in a few years brought the company  to become one of the main players in the supply of primary fuels to the cement industry and the utilities; recently it has further consolidated its leadership thanks to the entrance of new partners.



Gerolamo Zucchi, born in Milan in 1881graduated in mineral and metallurgical engineering from the prestigious “Technische Universität Bergakademie” in Freiberg, Germany.
In 1906 he was hired by the Elba Steelworks in Portoferraio.
In 1911 he was taken on by the Ilva company based in Bagnoli, where he stayed until 1918, before joining Ansaldo in Genoa.
In 1927 he founded the Ansaldo Coke company in Comigliano, where he was managing director until he passed away in 1947.
He was one of the most respected italian iron and steel engineers of the early twentieth century. He also wrote the entry for “coke” in the first edition of the Encyclopedia Treccani.


At the beginning of the twentieth century the “Elba” company owned the most modern ironworks in Italy.
The newly-employed Mr. Zucchi worked on and helped complete construction of these ironworks, where he would later become assistant director.
In 1910 the ILVA company (“Elba” in Latin) opened the large Bagnoli plant.
The new plant was entrusted to the best young engineers in the business: Zuccho was one of these, and he would work for ILVA until the end of the Great War as manager of the blast furnace area at Bagnoli.


The issue of the nationalisation in the areas recently annexed by Italy and their compensation arose after the First World War.
A technical and economic evaluation of the Servola (Trieste) and Carniola steelworks was entrusted to Mr. Zucchi by the govemment minister Volpi di Misurata.


Between 1907 and 1920 the Perrone family made Ansaldo the biggest, most modern and most ambitious industrial enterprise i Italy.
In 1918 Pio Perrone wanted to build a blast furnace and coke oven in Comigliano to make cast iron locally and produce his own eletric energy from coal gas.

He entrusted Gerolamo Zucchi with the project planning, so the latter left Bagnoli and moved to Genoa. From there Zucchi travelled all across Europe and the USA in search of the most advanced tecnology to purchase for Ansaldo.

However, badly-judged investments and a serious financial scandal severely dented the power and prestige of the Perrone family, leading to their exit from Ansaldo and the subsequent abandonment of the project.


In line with Perrone’s vision, Ansaldo acquired iron mines and the rights to build hydroèlectric installations in the Aosta Valley in 1916 to produce extra steel for the group’s industries in Comigliano (Genoa).
Sophisticated infrastrcture was put in place, including high-altitude villages, cableways for transporting workers and materials and the construction of electric furnaces and rolling mill at Cogne.
The industrial link-up project with Genoa anded with the Perrone family’s exit from Ansaldo but the same cannot be said for the industrial complex in the Aosta Valley, where the origins of today’s “Cogne Acciai Speciali” lie.
Mr. Zucchi also worked on the construction of the Cogne furmaces.


In 1927, in partnership with Ansaldo, Gerolamo Zucchi founded Ansaldo Coke spa in order to build and operate a “cokerie-gazière” (coke ovens for town gas production) designed by himself.
The coking plant, situated in via Rolla in Comigliano, started production a mere ten months after constructionwork began, and production levels reached 250,000 tons/year of high quality coke and 30,000mC/day of town gas intended for the city of Genoa.
Mr. Zucchi lead Ansaldo Coke as managing director and general manager until he passed away in 1947.



In 1949 Ansaldo Coke joined IRI (state owned industrial corporation) and Franco Zucchi, a thirty year old chemical engineer and the founder’s son, became general manager.
In 1957 Zucchi opened the new Ansaldo Coke oven batteries, built by the Belgian company Lecocq, in a traditional “switch on” ceremony.
In the mid-1960s Ansaldo Coke’s limited production capacity, in a sector dominated by an ever-smaller number of controlling companies, meant IRI decided to close down the company.
In June 1968 the Ansaldo Coke ovens were tuned off under the personal supervision of Franco Zucchi.


Franco Zucchi, together with Koch Carbon and his engineers, prepared and carried out the first industrial trials with petcoke as fuell in cement ovens.
The trials were a success and from then on petroleum coke was added to the energy mix in Italian cement factories, first in co-combustion with fossil coal and then as the only fuel in most cases.


After Ansaldo Coke closed down Franco Zucchi took part in various entrepreneurial initiatives in different fields of business.
The chemical sector was bat one of these.
At the end of the 1970s he started working witn the American company Koch Carbon Inc., which was amongst the world leaders in the solid fuel trade.
The company belonged to Koch Industries, one of the biggest industrial groups in the USA and owner of oil refineries and coal mines whose products Koch Carbon market.
Ing.Franco Zucchi

In 1982 Franco Zucchi founded Saif Combustibili S.p.A. for the importation and distribution of solid fuels in Italy.
The new company functioned as Koch Carbon’s general agency in Italy, amongst other activities.

Saif sold petcoke and steam coal to cement factories and coking coal to the Italiana Coke group, which had been created by merging the remaining Italian coking companies. In 1984 Franco’s sons joined Saif, particularly taking charge of organizing and managing the deposit distribution business.
Franco Zucchi’s experience and the dynamism of his sons and collaborators were greatly appreciated by both the Koch group and Saif’s customers and laid the foundation for Saif’s growth and success at that time and in the years to come.

Franco Zucchi passed away on January 24th 1996.



Saif has always used the “Funivie di Savona” unloading and deposit terminal an one of its main logistics bases for northern Italian markets.
Business with the Funivie starts increasing in 1997; Saif becomes the company’s number one client and in 2006 traffic unloaded at Funivie excedes 400,000 MT.
As a further recognition of its key role in Funivie, in 2002 Saif was asked to participate in the privatisation of SFAT, the holding company of the terminal.


TAF (Terminal Alti Fondali) is the ambitious project of Savona Port Authority, the commercial development of which sees the involment of SAIF.


Turkey represents one of the most interesting European markets for companies that deal with energy supply to industry.
After several years of working with Turkish companies and entrepreneurs and having established strong and profitable business relationships, Saif set up in 2008 the company Saif Enerji Kaynaklari Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş., headquartered in Istambul.
Saif E.K. imports and distributes traditional solid fuels and invests in energy-related business ventures taking advantage of the support and assistance of other companies in the Saif group.


Saif’s primary objective is to establish and strengthen satisfactory and long-lasting relationship with its clients.
The group has made technical, bunisess and logistical sopport a competitive advantage.
To support and encourage the growth of environmental awareness in Italia industry and particularly amongst its own clients, Salif created ENVIRO in 2005 with in order to paving the way for and actually commencing production of renewable fuels (especially RDF and biomass).
Enviro has launched numerous projects in Italy and abroad, in different technology and business domains, some of which are already at an advanced stage of completion.



Since April 2018 Saif saw the entrance of new shareholders, with the aim of strengthening and expanding its role internationally.

Among the new partners there are important, historical Genoese firms like Banchero Costa (, leader in Shipping and Cauvin Metals ( leader in aluminum and non ferrous metals trading.