P. Cataldi, Sogefi : “There is still space to win market share among the largest distribution players”

Muriel Blancheton
Paolo Cataldi Sogefi

Exclusive interview with Paolo Cataldi, Aftermarket Director at Sogefi ! On the menu: balance sheet of the Italian international group, electrical transition and customers in mutation...

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How have you done in 2022?

Paolo Cataldi: The aftermarket in general and filtration in particular did better than average. We owe this dynamism to our well-established positions in this sector, and to our industrial network (10 factories around the world). The quality and availability of products helped accompany this positive trend. Despite a tricky economic landscape since 2020, we have continued to launch a multitude of new products, SKUs and ranges. We even launched specially tailored new products such as our Purflux cabin filters that use HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) media through the CabinHepa+ range. We are also active in electric vehicles and automatic transmission filters.

What countries are driving growth?

P.C.: Europe has always been a powerhouse for the IAM! France, Spain, Italy, Britain… and there is still space to win market share among the largest distribution players depending on their own positions in the different countries. We are now targeting countries to the north and east such as Poland. Further afield, China and India are areas of potential that we are not neglecting, in particular with electric models and new emerging vehicle manufacturers. 

We are seeing strategic movements...All this calls for extreme agility. 

How are you planning to cope with the transition of the fleet towards electric?

P.C.: While we are aware that it will still be fossil fuel based for a few more years to come, the fleet is indeed beginning to evolve and that helps us anticipate these developments. Filtration isn’t just about the oil filter: there is also everything around cabin air conditioning… and there is still a big petrol and diesel fleet out there! The aim is to plan ahead for the future, while remaining agile in the current circumstances, and that’s not easy. We are getting stronger on a fleet which is still predominantly combustion engine and ageing, and, for the past five years we have been working on new mobility (electric, hybrid, hydrogen). The series launches are starting up and our portfolio is constantly changing. In hydrogen, we are even harnessing the technological skills of our filtration unit in Vire, Normandy, to offer innovative products to our clients. 

How are you adapting to the changing face of IAM clients?

P.C. : Through continuous support and immediate responsiveness! We are seeing strategic movements happening between the arrival of manufacturers and the concentration of distributors, the emergence of private labels that the latter are developing, and the concentration of large suppliers. All this calls for extreme agility. Our ability to fulfil the demands of a constantly changing market is the key to our success. 

Results : Between growth and constant control

Excluding the foreign exchange effect, Sogefi Group’s accounts for the first nine months of 2022 show a year-on-year turnover increase of 11.7%. The group generates 57% of its OE + IAM sales in Europe. Following a very difficult 2020, all regions report revenue growth: +7.2% in Europe, +17.4% in North America (accounting for 22% of total sales) and +17.6% in Asia (representing 14%). Filtration grew by 12.8%, suspension by 16.7%, and Air&Cooling by 4.8%. All of this happening on a backdrop of rising energy and raw materials prices, and supply chain difficulties.  

Muriel Blancheton
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