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Groupe le Goff : Itafran from its creation to today

🕵️ Immersion in Itafran

Date of publication : 23/09/2022

Reading time : 4 Minutes


From a company of 4 people, to the French leader in mechanical transmission components. Discover the history of Le Goff group

Birth of Itafran

In the 70's, after 30 years of industrial reconstruction, deindustrialization and globalization were in fashion. Production difficulties were transferred to countries with low-cost labor.

Accompanying this vast movement of French deindustrialization, ITAFRAN was created in 1976, equally by an Italian and a Frenchman, hence the name ITA for Italy and "FRAN" for France. This creation occurred at the time of the first industrial relocation in the field of mechanical transmission components (chains and sprockets, belts and pulleys, gears, reducers, etc.), which were developing to the benefit of Italy, whose labor costs were more competitive.

It was then a small company of 4 people, whose job was precisely to maintain the commercial flows with the French customers, by going to get in Italy the products which were not manufactured any more in France... the job of a forwarding agent, by clearing the products and buying them in Lira to resell them in Francs to a small number of French manufacturers.

Acquisition of the Itafran company:

In 1991, ITAFRAN is bought by Charles Le Goff who immediately directs the purchases of Italy towards China, country towards which all the industrial countries began, in the Nineties, to delocalize their production. During this decade, ITAFRAN extended its product lines to all mechanical transmission components: chains and sprockets, pulleys and belts, bearings, couplings, gears..

The 2000's: Transfer of the ITAFRAN trader to the LE GOFF industrial group

While keeping the status of importer since in France, all the articles are no longer manufactured in large series, ITAFRAN develops rapidly and buys out many of its French competitors, several of which are in judicial liquidation:

June 1996: the industrial distributor SERT (RJ/21-Longvic)
December 1998: the industrial distributor ACTIFOR (RJ/51-Reims)

  • June 2000 : the industrial distributor CHAUVALON (77-Pontault-Combault),
  • January 2004 : the industrial distributor ROCOPLAN (52-Langres),
  • July 2004 : the industrial distributor CALDIC (59-Lille)

In order to develop its capacity to adapt its products to the specific demands of its customers, and noting the accelerating disappearance of French workshops and factories for mechanical transmission components, ITAFRAN is continuing its external growth by focusing this time on production assets. In this way, ITAFRAN is bucking the ever-resilient trend of workshop and factory closures, while at the same time learning about the know-how of industrial production:

  • January 2008: the BDK belt and pulley workshop (68-Reguisheim)
  • March 2008: the STOCK PARISUD importer (95-Pontoise)
  • November 2008: the remains of the PIV drive factory (69-Villeurbanne), the French leader that exported mechanical drives all over the world for 50 years, employing 400 people in Villeurbanne, in the Rhone region, in its heyday. The exaggeratedly long delay with which the liquidation was handled by the Commercial Court of Lyon and the liquidator ended up destroying the business and showed the little interest that the French administration then had in maintaining the industrial activity.
  • January 2009 : the gear cutting workshop SOTAME (69-Chassieu)
  • January 2009 : the gear cutting workshop METALE (69-Villeurbanne)

The 2020s: the LE GOFF group driven by relocation

In 2020, the Covid health crisis reshuffles all the cards: France discovers that it no longer knows how to make masks, while global warming, combined with the energy crisis exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, is no longer compatible with the expansion of international, maritime and air transport. On the political level, the need for a minimum of national independence is finally giving back to what remains of French industry its letters of nobility, in the industrial domain in general and for the military industry in particular.

At the same time, and faced with the disappearance of most of the independent industrial distributors, the LE GOFF group is developing the digitization of its offer to give industrial maintenance and manufacturers a vision and immediate availability of the most important stock of mechanical transmission components in the country.

The reasons for success

there are 3 reasons for the strong strategic and tactical foundation of the LE GOFF Group:

  • a long-term view: to become a major player in mechanical power transmission, relying as much as possible on its own French and European factories
  • an organization that leaves nothing to chance
  • a participative management, leaving room for the innovation of competent and motivated teams.

The organization


The MERGER factory, owned and managed by Baptiste Le Goff, is the last French manufacturer of high power gearboxes meeting all the standards of the nuclear industry. Since 1947, MERGER has manufactured and distributed several hundred thousand gearboxes in 36 countries through its subsidiaries and agencies. Established from specifications, dealing with the most complex problems, MERGER gearboxes have become in nearly 65 years one of the world references in power transmission.

Today, based in the Lyon region, MERGER has a 4000m² production facility and a 6000m² spare parts warehouse.

Today we offer three types of service:

  • Manufacture of new gearboxes according to our catalog or replacement of existing systems
  • Maintenance and repair of all brands of gearboxes
  • Supply of certified original MERGER parts



Created in 2016 and located in Corbas, CMW is owned and managed by Arthur Le Goff.

Having grouped together in the same premises in Corbas, the Remy Barrere Gears, AEP, TEM, Sotame and Metale workshops after their successive takeovers, CMW has acquired a production tool of 5 000 m2 unique in its field in France: with an "arsenal" of more than 240 machines, experienced companions, and "real time" 4.0 productivity measurement tools, CMW is able to meet the most demanding requirements of the industry (aeronautics, maritime, railways, nuclear...) for the manufacture and cutting of gears.

Guided by the search for excellence and the respect of delivery times (the OTD of the company is close to 90%), the company has about a hundred customers including world manufacturers such as MAN, FAIRBANKS (USA), SAFRAN, HHM (China) and exports more than 40% of its production outside Europe.


Created in 1973, Itafran is a wholesale company in the mechanical power transmission sector. Appreciated for its commercial know-how and mechanical expertise, Itafran accelerated its development by setting up in Lyon.

In 1991, the company was taken over by Mr. Le Goff, and a strategic shift was made with the desire to establish a purchasing circuit from China, where the industrial emergence of Asia is spectacular.

From 1992 to 2000, Itafran continued its rise in the mechanical transmission sector by creating an increasingly important logistics center, increasing from 300 m2 to 4000 m2, and a second platform was opened in Dijon (21 Côte d'Or).

Quality being at the heart of Itafran's commercial policy, a technical office has been opened in Hangzhou (China - Zhejiang Province) in order to be closer to the Chinese factories and to check the conformity of the different products.

In fifteen years, Itafran has confirmed its position as the French leader in mechanical transmission components.

Itafran mechnical transmission specialist

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