«One should keep in mind that the strength of a tree lies not in the number and length of its branches but in the depth and health of its roots»
Gustave Thibon, French philosopher, in "Of Balance and Harmony"
It all started with a Swiss farmer, Christian Streit, who came to France at the beginning of the 20th century to create his own job. As for so many human beings around the world, the driving force is the duty to feed one’s family. And that driving force generated the dare to move, the dare to go find land in the neighboring country, a great dare for a man of little financial resources coming from the little village of Radelfingen in Switzerland. And the new home for the family became Anteuil.
Christian’s son, Emile, starts working as a farmer too, but this young man soon shows great skills with tools. First he repairs farming tools then he starts crafting them and develops a passion for everything mechanical. This leads him to sell his know-how in neighboring industrial companies.
Destiny played a part in the whole affair: Jeannette, Emile and René’s sister, was born with a disability and no-one would employ her. So the two brothers decide to start a modest industrial activity for her, so that she can make a living. The manufacturing of small plastic pouches was motivated by a bond of solidarity and mutual help. That was in 1954. Emile takes such a liking to manufacturing that he decides to broaden the scope by fabricating plastic bags for Peugeot. The workshop is created near the car-maker’s site, in Sochaux, and SOFANOU comes to life. Then the first extruder is bought in 1958 and put to work right in the family’s home, in Anteuil; it is later moved to an old US Army surplus iron garage and finally to a real workshop in 1964.
Bernard, Emile’s son, joins the company after his military service, on August 1st 1973. What he learns does not come from specific school classes but from the teaching of sound judgment and observation on the job. In 1985, Bernard takes the lead of the company and decides to implement changes that will prove of highly strategic importance. After 30 years of “craftsmanship” as it were, Sofanou takes a giant leap into true industrial activity, just when the automotive industry is into growing pains and great changes. Bernard sees this as an opportunity. The challenge: to become a recognized specialist in one field, to broaden the customer base and to grow. That is when the company starts specializing in convolute tubing for the protection of vehicle wiring harnesses.
In 1986 a new challenge is decided: an ambitious plan to become a European-size player. In the following years the company greatly expands with its first acquisitions in 1994 of FELICIO in Portugal and PLASTIC SIMO in Spain. In 1996, the Group is quoted on Paris’ second stock exchange market. The ensuing capital growth enables HBS TECHNOLOGIE, the Group’s holding company, to find the necessary funds for its continuous expansion.
Sofanou becomes a global player in the automotive industry, accompanying its customers in their strategic geographic moves, offering them quality service and delivering them just-in-time. Bernard does this just as his father, and his grandfather before that, had done: with the dare to move, the dare to innovate … in short, with an entrepreneurial spirit. Sofanou sets foot in America through acquisitions: APTC and TRUESDELL first, then MARKEL, JENISCO and, in 2008, M&Q PLASTICS. It took 10 years to become the leader on the American market.
In the years 2000, the Group broadened its global presence by accompanying its customers in new production areas: North Africa (Tunisia and Morocco) then Eastern Europe (Slovakia, Romania). With its North-American customers the new destinations were the Philippines, Honduras and Mexico.
In 2007, all the companies of the Group unite under a new name, DELFINGEN, a reminder of where it all started for a global Group: a little Swiss village by the name of Radelfingen.
At the end of the last decade, Delfingen started positioning itself in emerging countries, with the opening of a production site in Brazil, a sales office in Shanghai and a production site in Wuhan (China), inaugurated in October 2010.
In 2013, Delfingen acquires KARTAR WIRE (India) and HENGBANG (China), and pursues its development in Asia, one of Delfingen’s major challenges to continue to dare, to move and to maintain high entrepreneurial spirit.
In 2014, the acquisition of two German companies, LANGENDORF and MBG, strengthens Delfingen’s presence close to German OEMs and carmakers, and reinforces its technical contents on textile sleeving, offering the most complete and wide range of products on the protection market of wiring harnesses and fluid hoses.