Semoulin Packaging: a century of success for the family saga

Next year, Semoulin Packaging will celebrate its 115th anniversary.

This longevity commands respect for a company that has become one of the leading European flexible paper packaging providers.

It’s a perfect opportunity to look back at the journey of a company that has always been committed to upholding its family values while developing exceptional expertise!

Let’s discover what lies behind 44 Rue du Couvent, in the heart of Thulin.

A beginnings at the dawn of the 20th century

Our story begins in 1910 with Achille Semoulin. At the time, the historic founder worked in paper trading.

His flagship product? The “counter roll,” already popular at that time. This roll was used to package food products like butter and our national treasure: the sacred cone of fries.

At this stage, Mr. Semoulin’s company focused on buying and reselling paper for his clients.

A first family transition in the 1920s

With the arrival of his son Jules Semoulin in the company, Semoulin Packaging took a new turn. After World War I, Jules Semoulin bounced back ingeniously.

He partnered with a French company that repurposed machines used for printing propaganda… to create the company’s first bag-making machines!

In 1928, he took over the company and marked a significant milestone in its history by industrializing.

This was the beginning of a commitment to innovation and expertise that would be passed down through generations of the Semoulin family. Always with one material: paper.

1947: investment in new technologies

After World War II, Semoulin Packaging stood strong and was teeming with plans to increase its output.

Thus, the company acquired its first heliographic printer. This printing technique, which uses light to transfer images, allowed for a very high degree of precision.

The quality of this new printing technique enabled the company to specialize its production and offer its clients finely detailed results.

Today, flexographic printing is the highlight of Semoulin Packaging’s product manufacturing. Nevertheless, what remains from this heritage is the pursuit of excellence.

It’s not a novelty; it has always been the driving force behind the company’s leadership.

The 1950s and 60s: welcoming the third generation

The goal has always been clear for the Semoulin family: to follow their philosophy of producing quality solutions.

Freddy and Alain Semoulin, the two brothers and heirs to a family history focused on excellence, were determined to highlight the work of their father and grandfather before him.

How do you proceed when you are already the third generation at the helm? By modernizing the factory.

Through new commercial strategies and investments in the family factory, which has never moved from its historic location a few steps from the Thulin square, they propelled the industry into a new phase of success.

During this time, the two brothers significantly expanded the company’s premises. True to their innovative predecessors, Freddy and Alain introduced new machines, moving to flexographic printing.

A vision always oriented towards ecology 

All the modifications, modernizations, and updates were driven by a focus on sustainability. Indeed, having worked with paper for decades, Semoulin Packaging’s leaders have constantly sought to reduce their environmental impact.

While ecology is now a central concern, the company did not wait for the latest IPCC report to seek more environmentally friendly solutions.

Just like excellence, environmental respect is an integral part of the company’s DNA, passed down from generation to generation.

The 1980s: a turning point for the company and the arrival of the fourth generation

In 1983, the respective sons of Freddy and Alain joined the family business. Benoit, François, Jacques, Patrick, and Yves Semoulin worked to grow the company and extend its reach beyond Belgian borders.

Though the company was already doing well, the management decided to invest significantly to remain competitive and at the forefront of technology. The production chain was transformed, particularly with the addition of a state-of-the-art flexographic printer and the modernization of machinery. To support growth, new warehouses were built, doubling the factory’s size!

By the turn of the millennium, this risky bet had paid off. Semoulin developed innovative packaging solutions beyond Belgian borders, and revenue soared.

2010: partnership with Binola and change in leadership

Shortly before the centenary, a decision was made to seek a partner capable of supporting and accelerating the company’s growth.

In 2010, Semoulin Packaging partnered with Binola, a Belgian family business active in the packaging sector in Africa since the 1950s. Semoulin Packaging was integrated into the new holding, bringing expertise and product knowledge to the new owners.

After a few years, this partnership proved successful. Numerous technical and human exchanges took place between subsidiaries, allowing for synergies and economies of scale, increased market shares, product diversification, and accelerated growth for the Binola Group.

Following this change, the DNA that defines Semoulin Packaging remains deeply rooted in the current leadership. As Amaury del Marmol, the current general manager, shared:

“The company’s goal remains the same: to be an essential player in flexible and sustainable packaging.”

“Our mission is to imagine and deploy our resources to design innovative and sustainable packaging solutions for our clients. Innovation has always been a hallmark of Semoulin Packaging products.”

This demonstrates that the Semoulin legacy continues… and will for a long time to come! And what is made in Thulin, Europe should know!

So, don’t hesitate to share this article to highlight the work, commitment, and innovation of all the people who strive every day to keep this family heritage alive.