«Van Hool remains determined to pursue a sustainable future for the company. In the context of the ongoing procedures at the Mechelen Business Court, Van Hool will take an extra week to safeguard the possibility of a quick restart», the company itself makes known in a press release issued on 2nd April.

A note issued that does not (indeed) dispel doubts about the company’s future and the fate of its workers, who are obliged to wait another seven days to know their future, poised between bankruptcy or, hopefully, a new course, with a new ownership at the helm or the company’s relaunch still under the Van Hool family, thanks to a Recovery Plan put together by crisis manager Marc Zwaaneveld, who as we have told you in recent days has not spent honeyed words towards the Van Hools…

In any case, no acquirers is set to take over the company’s debts. Following bankruptcy, the acquirer would be debt-free, with the curator trying to settle the debts as much as possible with the income they get from the sale of the company.

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But a family feud that has dragged on for years has complicated and hindered this possible solution: “The inheritance dispute between the shareholders and the Van Hool family has proven impossible to resolve,” the company itself said today. In today’s press release, Van Hool also announced that talks with potential buyers to explore a possible relaunch are “proceeding constructively and in a good atmosphere, with attention to all interested parties.”

Who are the possible buyers of Van Hool?

What about potential buyers? In addition to VDL and Dumarey, there would also be German trailer and semitrailer manufacturer Schmitz Cargobull, which just together with Dutch VDL would be preparing a takeover bid. The Germans have their eyes on the commercial vehicle division, and VDL would be interested in the coach division. In particular, VDL Group would be particularly interested in Van Hool’s Class 3 bus business, with potential takeover of the US market, where Van Hool has a good foothold through its dealer ABC Companies.

In additiont that, according to the newspaper ‘De Standaard’ (on 3rd April) another candidate buyer has already thrown in the towel: “The Dutch trailer builder Vlastuin, which unexpectedly emerged as Van Hool’s third prospective buyer on Friday, is said to have already dropped out, editors heard. With a turnover of €100 million, Vlastuin is a much smaller player than Dumarey Group and VDL/Schmitz. It is also much smaller than Van Hool itself, which has a turnover of around 700 million euros in a normal year. Dumarey Group and VDL/Schmitz have now both made official bids. The final offer is said to be higher than the initial bids”.

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The German-Dutch axis is reportedly considering moving (at least part of) Van Hool’s production from Koningshooikt to northern Macedonia. This is a measure that Van Hool’s own management had included in the contingency plan to save the company from bankruptcy.

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Entrepreneur Guido Dumarey (Dumarey Group) has also expressed interest in taking over Van Hool, keeping production in Koningshooikt and promising that 1,800 people will not lose their jobs.

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