Knowing and understanding our roots will teach you something about our culture, about what drives us and why we perpetuate our Values.

Key developments in our Group's history


The Safe industrial group was born in 1967, from the fusion between the Sainte-Suzanne and Colombier-Fontaine foundries in Doubs (France) headed by Marc Génot, who convinced the families owning these businesses that "the only way they could secure their future was by joining forces, since at the time more than 65 steel foundries existed in France and there were already very real overcapacity problems". Marc Génot then set his hand to restructuring the French steel foundry industry, providing an opportunity for the Aciéries et Fonderies de l'Est (Steelworks and Foundries of the East) group to absorb the huge Feurs plant in 1984, which made us the front-runner in the French market.

In the decade spanning 1985 to 1995, we began expanding into Europe and diversifying into the complementary refractory steel and automotive plastics industries. Additional plants were opened and new cultures embraced in foreign countries, which brought new expertise to the Group. We decentralized our organizational structure and gave our branches greater autonomy, which empowered executive managers and largely explains our continuing successful growth.

In the 2000s, headed by Gérard Mura, we deployed our expertise in America and Asia, as a result of which we saw a new surge in business and secured our position as global leader in each of our lines of business. However, this meant tightening the scope of our activities, focusing on the most promising specialist niche markets and selling some of our industrial units to other groups, in a better position to develop them.

In early 2013, the Group changed its name and became Safe, to update its image while still defending its fundamental principles. This new name, both symbolic and understood worldwide, echoes the Group's historical name, AFE, to maintain a tie with our past. It also conveys a positive and reassuring image. As producers of products synonymous with safety, this is something all our branches can relate to, whether in terms of airbag covers ensuring passenger safety, or highly resistant gear components capable of coping with extreme overload, or furnace components capable of withstanding thermal shocks at high temperatures. Thanks to their quality and reliability, coupled with our long-term sustainability and financial security, our customers can feel safe.

We will soon be celebrating our 50th anniversary. Since its inception, the Safe Group has been managed by just two men, both with a strong entrepreneurial spirit: Marc Génot, from 1967 to 1996, followed by Gérard Mura, still at the head of our Group today. This stability and longevity are guarantees of our strategic coherence, and confirm our commitment to values anchored over several generations.


1967 Establishment of Aciéries et Fonderies de l'Est through the merger of two family-owned companies created in 1918 and engaged in the same foundry business, i.e. cast steel to order: Aciéries et Fonderies du Doubs, in Sainte-Suzanne (Doubs, France); and Fonderie Maître in Colombier-Fontaine (Doubs, France).


1976 Creation of Armoricaine de Fonderie le Châtelet (AFC) located in Redon (Ille-et-Vilaine, France), which goes on to take over the struggling Fonderies du Châtelet. The company DBA acquires a 49% stake in the business, which is then bought up by AFE.
1983 Acquisition of Mancelle de Fonderie located in Arnage near Le Mans (Sarthe, France), since renamed Cronite Mancelle.


1984 Acquisition of Fonderies et Aciéries Electriques de Feurs located in Feurs (Loire, France), renamed Feursmetal and which has since become Castmetal Feurs.
1987 Introduction of AFE on the Second Marché of the Paris stock exchange (France).
1989 Creation of FWF through the transfer of the assets of Sainte-Suzanne (Doubs, France).
1989 Aciéries et Fonderies de l'Est becomes AFE and establishes its head office in Montrouge (near Paris, France).
1989 Acquisition of the tooling and plastics-processing company Demo, located in Andilly and Marines (Val-d'Oise, France).


1989 Acquisition of Société Mécanique de Précision du Maine (now Le Segment AB) located in Arnage (Sarthe, France) on the Cronite Mancelle site.


1990 Acquisition of Klefisch, based in Hürth (Germany), since become Cronite Klefisch.
1991 AFE creates two wholly-owned branches: AFE Metal, taking over the activities of Feursmetal, FWF and SMC; and AFE Technologies, taking over the activities of Mancelle de Fonderie, Le Segment AB and Klefisch.
1992 Friendly takeover by AFE of the Cronite Group, based in Crewkerne (Somerset, UK) and the United States (Ohio), whose various companies complement AFE Technologies.
1992 Creation of the Feurst subsidiary in Feurs, specializing in the distribution of wear parts for public works.
Creation of the AFE Plasturgie branch.
1997 Creation of FWF de Mexico, a wholly-owned FWF subsidiary located in Cuauhtémoc (Chihuahua, Mexico).
1997 Creation of Valdi, an AFE Metal subsidiary specializing in the recycling of coproducts with metal content (alkaline batteries, petrochemical catalysts, etc.).
1999 Friendly takeover by FAP, a subsidiary of ABN AMRO Capital Investissement, of all AFE shares followed by a share buyback offer.
1999 Creation of Valdi Le Palais, a Valdi subsidiary, taking over the production plant operated by GPEC and Pechiney in Le Palais-sur-Vienne (near Limoges, France).
2000 Creation of AFE Foundry, an AFE Metal subsidiary, in Martin (Slovakia) specializing in steel component finishing.
2001 Creation of Demo Plastik, a wholly-owned AFE Plasturgie subsidiary, through the acquisition of Plamat's industrial assets in Bursa (Turkey).
2002 Creation of Demo Autoplast, a wholly-owned AFE Plasturgie subsidiary, by the buyout of the industrial production facilities at Celakovice (near Prague, Czech Republic).
2003 AFE Plasturgie sells its Tableaux de Commandes division.
2004 AFE sells the AFE Carrosserie branch.
2004 Acquisition of all FAP shares by CapSag, a subsidiary of the Sagard investment fund.
2005 Creation of the Valdi Environnement branch, through the transfer of AFE Metal's Valdi subsidiary.
2005 Acquisition by AFE Technologies of Belog Guss' assets (Brno, Czech Republic).
2005 Acquisition by AFE Plasturgie of Technimark's assets (Chihuahua, Mexico).
Transfer of CPC business to the English company Cronite Castings Limited.
2006 Acquisition from investment fund Sagard of all CapSag shares by a pool of investors including the Management Board, Euromezzanine and French family investors.
2006 Transfer of AFC to the La Fonte Ardennaise (LFA) group.
2007 AFE Cronite Technologies establishes a greenfield plant in Wuhan, China, manufacturing assemblies for heat treatment furnaces.
2007 AFE Cronite Technologies establishes a greenfield plant in Monterrey (state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico), manufacturing assemblies for heat treatment furnaces for various U.S. markets.
AFE Cronite Technologies sets up its R&D center in Brno (Czech Republic).
2008 AFE Cronite Technologies acquires the assets of Scomark Engineering Ltd, based in England (plants in Sheffield, Yorkshire and Swadlincote, Derbyshire), specializing in the production of refractory steel tubes for the chemical and petrochemical industries.
2009 AFE Metal sets up an industrial unit in China by purchasing the assets of the Chinese company XHC, and creates an AFE Metal Casting Xuzhou sand foundry in Xuzhou (Jiangsu Province).
2010 AFE sells its Valdi branch to the ERAMET group.
2012 AFE sells Cronite Scomark Engineering to the English Hilco group.
Demo Plastik transfers its business to a new plant in Bursa (Turkey).
AFE Plasturgie creates Demo do Brasil, a new plant in Quatro Barras (near Curitiba in Brazil).

AFE changes its name to Safe. The three branches are renamed Safe Metal, Safe Cronite and Safe Demo. The corporate names of the companies of the Safe Metal and Safe Cronite branches are harmonized around a common stem (Castmetal for the Safe Metal branch, Cronite for the Safe Cronite branch).

The Safe Metal branch expands into Spain with the creation of Castmetal Vitoria, which acquires the business of the Novacero steel foundry based in Vitoria (Basque Country).

2014 The Safe Metal branch creates the Spanish company Castmetal Leon, which acquires the assets of the Spanish Endaki Tecnocast foundry located in La Robla (Castile and Leon).