Van Hool racing to secure its future

Following press reports about difficulties at Van Hool, a spokesperson from the company has issued the following statement:

Van Hool remains steadfast in its pursuit of a sustainable future despite recent challenges. Co-CEO Marc Zwaaneveld is holding firm to the target date of March 31, 2024, to provide an outcome in some form that ensures the preservation of as many activities and jobs at Van Hool as possible.

On Monday, March 11th, the Van Hool Recovery Plan was presented during a Special Works Council to employee representatives, and all employees were informed. This plan, necessary due to the exceptional situation the company finds itself in, aims to secure a future for Van Hool.

In the subsequent period, discussions were held with various stakeholders, including banks, government agencies, shareholders, the Board of Directors, unions, and potential investors. The Van Hool Recovery Plan, drafted taking into account the company’s situation, proved to be a challenging yet feasible plan and was well received by these stakeholders. The goal was to attract new capital and strengthen the company’s financial foundation.

However, an inheritance dispute among shareholders and the Van Hool family has complicated the planned actions. Despite deadlines and efforts, a swift resolution to this dispute proved unattainable. Consequently, the confidence of other stakeholders in bolstering Van Hool’s equity further diminished. Van Hool clearly states that the question of whether banks would be willing to provide equity is therefore largely irrelevant. Based on these developments, it must be acknowledged that the implementation of the Van Hool Recovery Plan in a business continuity situation is no longer viable.

With the short and impending deadline of March 31 for approval of the Van Hool Recovery Plan, the company had already initiated a parallel track to explore alternative scenarios. This included discussions with potential acquirers to explore a possible restart, with attention to all stakeholders, particularly the employees.

Van Hool acknowledges and appreciates the support of stakeholders, including banks, the Flemish government, and the involved minister Jo Brouns. Furthermore, the company expresses its deep appreciation for the dedicated staff and the Works Council and Unions for their ongoing support and involvement.

“We absolutely refuse to give up and continue to make maximum efforts to find a solution by the end of March,” said Marc Zwaaneveld, co-CEO at Van Hool. “We believe that a solution is still achievable, but we need the maximum support from all involved parties. Let’s work together and remain calm to make a sustainable future possible.”

Van Hool is a Belgian independent manufacturer of buses, coaches, and industrial vehicles, headquartered in Koningshooikt. The company was founded in 1947. The majority of production is destined for Europe and North America. Van Hool employs over 4,100 staff worldwide, with the majority located in production facilities in Koningshooikt (Belgium) and Skopje (North Macedonia).

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