Improving everyday living since 1894
Saponia is the leading detergent and personal hygiene products manufacturer in Croatia. With over 500 different products made for general consumers and industries, the company has made sure people are living in a safe and clean environment and have been recognised for the quality of its products for the past 126 years.
The company is continuously modernising: embracing new technologies and knowledge, focusing on sustainable development and refusing to test products on animals.
Saponia cooperates with many domestic educational institutions and renowned global companies, like Unilever and Gillette. The majority of products are sold in Croatia, and the rest to neighbouring countries, they also export to the rest of the EU, USA, Canada and Australia.
In 1894, entrepreneur Samuel Reinitz began to make soaps in his craft workshop in Osijek. His production grew steadily over the years, and in 1913 he made the foundation of the factory by setting the steam boiler and building a factory chimney. The factory produced a line of different soaps, as well as a few types of candles for households and churches.
In 1922, Reinitz expanded his business venture and sold the majority of shares to the Austrian joint stock company Georg Schicht whose core business was a production of cleaning products and products for personal hygiene. The outline of the brand we know today is made. Even some of the products made at the time like VIM (launched in 1929) are still produced and used today.
After WW2, the factory was nationalised (confiscation of the private property) and renamed to The First Soap Factory Osijek (Croatian: Prva tvornica sapuna Osijek).
The Saponia brand & its products
A decade later, in 1952, the company expanded production to include personal hygiene products and in 1953, it was renamed back to Saponia. The designer of the Saponia logotype, which is still used today, is Osijek’s graphic designer and artist Antun Peić.
Since the beginning, the company understood the importance of design and marketing and was very active in advertising its products in newspaper campaigns.
In the same decade, Saponia had around 400 people employed and launched three laundry detergents brands – Plavi Radion, Nila and Bis. The company was continually investing in new knowledge and production and, at the beginning of the 1960s, Saponia established a research and development department and a library.
The company grew steadily over time, expanding production, introducing new products, cooperating with Unilever and merging with the Dalmacijabilje, a factory for purchase and processing of plants, from Dubrovnik. They also introduced Fax Helizim – the first locally developed laundry detergent based on biodegradable surfactants and the first to contain enzymes.
In the 1970s, they expanded the portfolio with dish detergents – Likvi and Tipso, as well as Arf abrasive cleaning product, Ornel fabric softener, and Zirodent toothpaste (renamed Kalodont in 2012).
All of these products are still in use today and are among the most recognised Croatian brands in their respective categories.
Last year, the company celebrated 125 years in business and launched the new Eco Active Nature product line, showing that it is in line with global trends and ensuring it remains relevant for years to come.
Until the Homeland War (1991 – 1995), Saponia had four factories, one in Osijek, one in Dubrovnik and two in Nemetin. During the war, the majority of facilities were destroyed but the company never really stopped doing business.
Soon after the war, the business was rebuilt. In 1994, the company was privatized and became a joint-stock corporation. In 1998, the company was bought by Mepas from Široki Brijeg (from Bosnia and Herzegovina), and a new era of Saponia began.
Today, Saponia has an impressive range of over 500 different products in categories of consumer detergents, personal hygiene products and agents for industrial and institutional use.
Products from Saponia are known for their quality, and it is not surprising that many of them are as popular today as they were 50 or 60 years ago when they were first launched. Generations of households are still using Fax Helizim for their laundry, Likvi for dishwashing and Arf for cleaning… well, everything.
Of course, all of those brands evolved over time, have been upgraded, and have developed into separate lines of products. This constant evolution and excellence of product made Saponia the leading detergent and personal hygiene product manufacturer in Croatia and neighbouring countries and its brands became household essentials in every Croatian home.