Van Hool takes another week to work on ‘relaunch’

Belgian bus builder Van Hool, being on the inevitable edge of bankruptcy and running out of money at the end of March, is taking another week ‘to work on a quick relaunch’ within the boundaries of the juridical procedures, the company’s management told the workers council on Tuesday morning. Normally, the official bankruptcy was expected today.

At the end of last week, it became clear there are currently four bidders for a takeover of (parts of?) Van Hool: Belgian entrepreneur Guido Dumarrey is the only one who has revealed his plans to keep production in Belgium. Dutch bus builder VDL made a joint offer with German truck builder Schmitz Cargobull, and apparently, a fourth—undisclosed—party popped up at the last minute.

Europe’s most modern electric bus factory

According to some Belgian media, experts give the combination of VDL and Schmitz the best chance of winning the bid. VDL, which took over another bus builder (Jonckheere in Roeselare) years ago, is mostly interested in Van Hool’s coach-building business.

Next week, on April 10th, VDL is opening its brand new factory for electric buses – the most modern in Europe – in Roeselare. According to the latest figures, VDL’s bus business in Roeselare, employing 650 people, made a net profit of 1,6 million euros in 2022. However, VDL’s bus activities, 21 entities worldwide, were reportedly loss-making.

Profitable truck trailers

Schmitz Carogbull, like Van Hool’s secondary business, offers solutions for almost every transport task, from bulk goods to highly regulated pharmaceutical transport, and is highly interested in taking on that part. Although confirmed by Flemish minister for Work Jo Brouns, there is no word about the’ fourth candidate’ and their plans so far.

Although Van Hool desperately needs a solid restructuring to cut production costs, it still has a well-filled order book for luxury coaches, which it excels at, and industrial vehicle trailers, which are still profitable.




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