It was yesterday Sopradal from Paal declared bankrupt. The company is known for its brand Galenco. And that of course means something to many residents of Beringen. Galenco was founded in the 1960s in Paal and was one of the first companies in the Paals industrial zone around the E313, located in Tervantstraat. First at the front of the Beverlosesteenweg bridge where Xpand is now, later a little further in the SME zone. The company quickly became known throughout Belgium for its bath products, body milks and baby products. In Paal, Galenco quickly became one soap factory named.
In 1988, Galanco was bought by the Dutch Numico and the company’s name was later renamed Sopradal. The Galenco brand was for the Belgian market, the name Biodermal was rolled out in the Netherlands. In 2003, Soprodal was sold to Omega Pharma, then still led by Marc Coucke.
The deal was described in De Standaard as follows: “The eye-catcher of the deal is Galenco. Skin care products are sold under that name in Belgium through pharmacies, hospitals and pharmaceutical wholesalers. The market shares of the Galenco products sold through pharmacies are quite high. For baby products, bath products and body milks this concerns market shares of more than 20 percent.”
Coucke managed to give the company an enormous boost. Turnover grew in ten years from a turnover of 15 million to 40 million. The number of employees increased from 35 to 128. In 2014, Omega Pharma was taken over by Perrigo, which still owns Soprodal through the Dutch Emma Health & Beauty Care. In 2015, a profit of 1 million euros was distributed to shareholders.
Now almost 10 years later, the curtain is temporarily falling on the Paalse soap factory. Hopefully a buyer will be found. (photos Carina Poel)