Van Hool announces a major restructuring plan with workforce to be reduced by around 1,100 employees, between 2024 and 2027

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    Van Hool, an independent manufacturer of buses and industrial vehicles, presented the basic principles of the Van Hool Recovery Plan to employee representatives at a special works meeting . The company expressed its intention to strategically focus its activities on market segments where customers consciously choose the high quality of Van Hool products.

    The implementation of the Van Hool Recovery Plan is intended to enable the company to have a sustainable future on its own. Unfortunately, the intended realignment also entails difficult interventions. In order to support this strategic change of direction, the organization, working methods and number of employees must be adjusted. The company therefore very much regrets that it will carry out a necessary restructuring at the Koningshooikt site in the period 2024-2027. This plan would result in the departure of approximately 1,100 valued colleagues during this period.

    Co-CEO Marc Zwaaneveld said: “We understand the impact this plan will have on employees and their families and we find it difficult to take this step given the extremely urgent situation the company finds itself in “However, it is really necessary to take these measures to ensure a sustainable future for Van Hool. With this recovery plan, Van Hool remains a significant employer in Flanders.”

    Most of the departures, around 830, will take place this year. This includes various forms of exit such as layoffs, retirement arrangements and natural turnover. Experience shows that over 50 additional natural losses are planned in 2025 and 2026, so that the goals of the restructuring plan for this period can be achieved. In 2027, another 220 employees would leave the company through layoffs and retirement plans. Over time, Van Hool’s recovery plan envisages direct employment of around 1 400 workers and almost 3 000 workers if indirect employment is included, the vast majority of which operate in the region. 

    Employee representatives are invited to take part in the upcoming information and consultation rounds.

    The Van Hool Recovery Plan and the associated realignment of business activities are the answer to the difficult financial situation in which Van Hool finds itself. These conditions were caused by several factors, including the impact of the coronavirus, high energy costs, high inflation and global component supply issues. Van Hool’s management is committed to overcoming these challenges and getting the company back on track  by implementing the Van Hool Recovery Plan .

    Van Hool will speak to customers from various markets, including public transport, about the impact of this possible realignment. In effect, this change means that the company will be more selective in accepting new orders from public transport.

    Production of buses would take place primarily at the factory in Skopje, North Macedonia. In Koningshooikt, Division IV (Industrial Vehicles) will focus on semi-trailers, which require a higher level of expertise and provide greater added value for both the customer and Van Hool. The B&C (Bus & Coach) division will retain its knowledge center, research and development, prototyping and customer service in Koningshooikt.

    Van Hool is an independent Belgian manufacturer of buses, coaches and industrial vehicles based in Koningshooikt. The company was founded in 1947. The majority of production is destined for Europe and North America. Van Hool employs around 4,100 people worldwide, most of them at the production sites in Koningshooikt (Belgium) and Skopje (North Macedonia).