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Mais de um século de empreendedorismo e perseverança que se conjugam para trazer o melhor azeite ao mundo.

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It all started in the ends of the 19th century.. Alfredo da Silva, Portugal's most important industrialist, created the first Portuguese financial, commercial and industrial group - the Companhia União Fabril, CUF, built upon the merger of two smaller chemical companies, the União Fabril and the Companhia Aliança Fabril.

As they would say in those days "What the country doesn't have, CUF creates." At the beginning of the 20th century, it was already the largest Portuguese conglomerate, with an industrial park in Barreiro that represented avant-garde technology, entrepreneurship and modernization. CUF represented 5% of the country's GDP and included more than 100 companies, 110,000 people, and more than 1,000 products being made. It was involved in everything from shipping to fertilizers, textiles, acids and vegetable oils, among others.

It was a group, of very few, that survived two world wars due to the courage and tenacity of Alfredo da Silva.

Despite that, in April 1974, the social and political instability caused by the end of the dictatorship in Portugal resulted in the end of CUF as it was then known.


Entrepreneurship, vision, courage and tenacity. Characteristics that Alfredo da Silva managed to pass on to his next generations. With the return of social and political stability some years after the revolution, Jorge de Mello and José Manuel de Mello took on the responsibility of rebuilding the group.

It was in the 80's that Jorge de Mello re-entered the Portuguese market through the acquisition of Sociedade Alco, Algodoeira Comercial e Industrial, which business area was the extraction, refining and bottling of vegetable oils. It also acquired the Fábrica Torrejana de Azeites, em Torres Novas.

In the 90's, the group proceeded with acquisitions to reinforce the role of the group in that market. These included Lusol, which was involved in the extraction and refining of vegetable oils and the production of soaps; Tagol, which performed extraction and refining of several oilseeds, including soy, and had an exclusive contract with the multinational corporation Bunge; and Sovena, created in 1956 through a partnership between CUF, Macedo & Coelho and Sociedade Nacional de Sabões, to market vegetable oils and soaps.

With the intention of satisfying its clients and consumers in the vegetable and olive oil markets, controlling the value chain to enhance competitiveness became absolutely vital.


The start of the 21st century is also the start of the industrial restructuring of the group, concentrating its activities on Tagol with extraction and refining, and on Sovena with bottling and marketing. This was followed by some new acquisitions with a globalized frame of mind, rather than a local one.

In 2002, the acquisition of Agribética's assets in Seville, which involved refining and bottling of vegetable oils and mostly olive oil, and the consequent integration of Sovena Ibérica de Aceites, allowed the group to grow phenomenally, becoming the number one player in the Iberian Peninsula.

Already with its own place in the Iberian market, the group felt the need to bring its products to more people and more countries and even a new continent. It was then that it acquired Simão & Co with the objective of re-launching its main brand, Andorinha, in the Brazilian market.

This was followed, in 2005, by the acquisition of 80% of East Coast Olive Oil, the largest olive oil bottler in the U.S.A.

In the same year, the group opened Tagol Iberica de Aceites in Spain to ease its access to the sunflower seed market in that country.

With a strong presence in all 3 continents reached in just 3 years, the group conquers a new partner, SOMED, to create a new company based in Morocco, called Soprolives. Through growth of 2,250 acres of olive groves, Soprolives will produce and sell olive oil to several international markets.

Still in 2006, Tagol, in partnership with Bunge, creates BioColza, whose main activity is the extraction and refining of Colza (a type of Canola) oil and its sub-products.

The rhythm continues strong, and also in 2006 the group acquires 80% of Exoliva. This company is primarily dedicated to the production and export of table olives, having a significant position in the Russian, Ukrainian and Middle Eastern markets.

In 2007 Sovena M.E.N.A. (Middle East & North Africa) was created in Tunisia, again through a partnership with a local company. The objective is to supply the local market, the surrounding countries and export.

Although the entrance in the agricultural world happened in 2006 with Soprolives, it is in 2007 that the largest agricultural project is created, through a partnership with Atitlan, called Elaia. The objective is to plant about 25,000 acres of olive groves, commanding a larger control of the entire value chain in the market.

Also in 2007, Agrodiesel was established and used for Biodiesel production and commercialization. The factory was built next to the Tagol (the present Sovena Oilseeds Portugal) facilities and began production in December of that year.

The group is already the second largest company in the olive oil world and it is the largest supplier of private labels.

2008 starts with the restructuring of the group's identity, with a new image and new company names. It is the new SOVENA GROUP, previously known as Alco, now with four business areas - Biodiesel, Agriculture, Oilseeds and Consumer Goods.