SONAE was founded in 1959 at the site of its present location in Maia.
Its first activity was the production of high pressure decorative laminates.
SONAEs expansion and diversification began in 1971 when it took control of
Novopan, a particleboard company, located in Rebordosa, near Oporto.
At the same time, the first melamine surfacing production line was installed and the components production for the furniture and interior decoration industries also started.
In 1975, Sonae enters the chemical industrial sector with the production of
melamine and phenolic resins.
In 1979 the expansion process continued with additional capacity
in components and melamine surfacing.
In 1982, chemical's production was extended to formaldehyde and urea resins.
In 1984, SONAE became the leading particleboard manufacturer in Portugal
through the acquisition of AGLOMA.
In 1989 it took the first step in expansion abroad with the take-over of Spanboard,
a particleboard manufacturer in Northern Ireland, then strengthening its market
position in the British market.
In 1993, a new phase or rapid growing and international expansion was started. With the take-over of TAFISA, S.A., one of the leading Spanish companies of the sector, it became market leader in the Iberian Peninsula.
In 1994 SONAE INDÚSTRIA extended its activities to Canada with the start-up of a plant producing particleboard and was expanding its commercial activity to Brazil and South Africa.
MDF capacity in Europe was expanded by the installation of a second product line at Mangualde and a new thin MDF line at Valladolid, Spain.
SONAE INDÚSTRIA is no longer part of SONAE INVESTIMENTOS SGPS. A new holding company - INPARSA - was formed to manage the wood-based business, among others and is the majority shareholder in SONAE INDÚSTRIA.
During 1998, Sonae Indústria extended its industrial base to another continent: South Africa. It started to install a particleboard production plant in South Africa, and this entered into production in December 1999. At the same time, the group strongly reinforced its presence in the UK with a new wood-based particleboard factory, which is due to start production in the middle of 2000.
The excellent performance of SONAE INDÚSTRIA in Canada meant that production capacity at the Lac-Mégantic factory had to be increased, and the start-up occurred in June 2000.
In the same year, SONAE INDÚSTRIA became the world leader in the manufacture of wood-based panels: with the acquisition of around 85% of the equity capital of the German company, Glunz AG, through its TAFISA holding.
The acquisition of Glunz AG saw SONAE INDÚSTRIA expand its industrial base into Germany and France, in the latter case through ISOROY, which was one of the Glunz companies. The acquisition of Glunz AG increased the range of products, and SONAE INDÚSTRIA was then able to offer new products, such as OSB (Oriented Strand Board), Softboard and plywood.
By 1999, Sonae Indústria was involved in a multiplicity of projects: a new plant for resins in Sines; a sawmill in Cuellar (Spain); a second MDF production line in Brazil.
The new chemicals plant in Sines permitted to supply all the resins required by all SONAE INDÚSTRIA's factories in Iberia.
In the first half of 1999, INPARSA, FIGEST and SONAE INVESTIMENTOS SGPS merged to form SONAE SGPS - Sociedade Gestora de Participações Sociais, SA, which became the majority shareholder in SONAE INDÚSTRIA.
With regard to forestry interests, concentrated in the Sonae Produtos e Derivados Florestais sub-holding, Sonae Indústria added to its involvement in sawmilling operations, mentioned above, by acquiring IFLOMA, in Mozambique, and also won 65% of the capital of Gescartão in open tender, when it was privatised, in a joint venture with a Spanish company, Europac. This 65% stake in Gescartão enabled SONAE INDÚSTRIA to go ahead with the vertical integration of its industrial activity, broadening its business base to embrace the wood pulp and paper sector.
In August 2000 SONAE INDÚSTRIA reinforced its presence in South Africa by the acquisition of Sappi Novobord. The impact of this acquisition in relation to Sonae's interests in this country was great as it strengthened its position. Through its increased production capacity, the company created the opportunity of becoming the largest supplier of particleboard in South Africa, at the same time increasing the range of products on offer.
During the year 2001 great changes took place, especially in France and Germany. A new MDF production line started-up at Le Creusot, as well as a particleboard production line in Lure, France. In Germany, in September, a new factory started production in Nettgau, initially producing particleboard and later OSB.
Still during September 2001, various forestry assets including the sub-holding SONAE PRODUTOS E DERIVADOS FLORESTAIS SGPS, SA, were transferred to SONAE SGPS, SA, in a similar way to that which has already taken place for shareholdings in Portucel and Soporcel. This will facilitate integrated strategic management of those assets most directly related to the pulp and paper industry.
The demerger-merger and merger operation of SONAE – SGPS, S.A. began on September 2005. This operation consisted of a split of part of the shareholding held by SONAE – SGPS, S.A. in SONAE INDÚSTRIA – SGPS, S.A. (hereinafter called SI) and its integration in SONAE 3P – Panels, Pulp and Paper, SGPS, S.A.. This last company integrated the full share capital of SI through a simultaneous merger operation. With this operation and as from December, 20th 2005 SI is extinguished and the company Sonae 3P – Panels, Pulp and Paper, SGPS, SA is renamed Sonae Indústria, SGPS, SA.
Join Venture with Tarkett AG for production and marketing of Flooring.
Acquisition of Hornitex (Germany) and Darbo (France).
New particleboard production line in South Africa.
New melamine production line in Canada.
Acquisition of Tafisa minority shareholdings and delisting from Spanish Stock Market.
The first Sustainability Report is published.
Sale of Tafisa Brasil, SA to Placas do Paraná, SA.
Sale of Lure plant (France)
Closure of Knowsley operations (UK) and Solsona (Spain)
Sale of Auxerre and Le Creusot plants (France). Closure of Pontecaldelas plant (Spain). Discontinuation of Horn particleboard operations (Germany).
Sale of Ussel and Linxe (France) and Betanzos (Spain).
New Innovus 2.0 collection launch.
Strategic partnership with Arauco announced.
Sonae Indústria completes a strategic partnership with Inversiones Arauco Internacional.
This partnership involves the existing European and South African wood based panels and related operations of Sonae Indústria, namely all its production facilities of wood based panels, chemicals and paper impregnation, but excludes Sonae Indústria’s operations in North America (Tafisa Canada) and the laminates and components business, which continue to be fully owned by Sonae Indústria.