For the VDL Group, 2023 was a two-sided year. In hot days that saw the Dutch giant get its hands – along with Schmitz Cargobull – on Van Hool, the press note containing the financial results achieved during the past year was released.

VDL Groep president and CEO Willem van der Leegte said: «Because so much went well in 2023, we achieved a record high turnover. The situation in the Car Assembly and Buses & Coaches divisions has taken a heavy toll on our results, due to the costs of the social plan at VDL Nedcar and challenges at the Buses & Coaches division. We are therefore pulling out all the stops to maintain the level of investments requested by our clients in other activities. Our organic turnover growth in 2023 confirms that our years of heavy investment in innovation (total 2023 investment programme: €229 million in premises and other assets and an additional €181 million in research & development) have clearly had an effect. We are well positioned in our five growth markets, Hightech, Mobility, Energy, Infratech and Foodtech, to continue offering our clients added value».

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VDL’s 2023 in numbers

Sales were 6.354 billion euros in 2023, up 10 percent from 2022 (5.752 billion), but net income fell from 298 million euros to 82 million euros, and normalized net income, excluding extraordinary income and expenses, fell by 29 million euros to 147 million euros. The order backlog (excluding the auto assembly division) in the thirteenth week of 2024 amounted to 1.857 billion euros, compared to 2.038 billion euros in the same week of 2023: in short, a decline of 9 percent. And last but not least, the number of employees fell by 272, dropping to 14,973 people as human capital.

Bus&coach at a loss

In 2023, the bus&coach division’s sales dropped by 33 percent, from €454 million in 2022 to €304 million. The main reason is delivery delays due to a shortage of materials for the new generation of VDL Citea, the in-house city e-bus. The demolition of the old production plant and the start-up of the new plant in Roeselare, Belgium, have also been a challenge.

For the record: next week VDL will inaugurate the plant and we will be there to tell you all the details of the ribbon cutting.

But based on the order book, public transport sales are expected to increase in 2024. Increased production of the new generation of VDL Citea will increase deliveries to customers in 2024. As a result, the VDL electric I-Class will become much more common on the roads of Europe; in 2023, the order book of the new generation VDL Citea was fully filled by 2024. The same is true for the production of the entire bus range. To ensure long-term sustainability and continuity, substantial investment will be made in research and development, including a new bus platform.

What will 2024 be for VDL?

VDL Groep’s turnover will decrease in 2024 compared to the record turnover in 2023, mainly due to the loss of turnover at VDL Nedcar. Excluding the Car Assembly division, organic revenue growth is expected to be between 5 and 10 percent. Profits are expected to recover slightly. The planned investments, about 1 billion euros over the next three years, will be key to continuing to facilitate customers in VDL Groep’s growth markets.

Highlights

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