Van Hool to Cease Production of City Buses in Belgium

Bus manufacturer, Van Hool has launched a recovery plan that will alter its approach to the public transport sector, resulting in around 1,100 job losses.

As part of this plan, the company will refocus its activities towards specific market segments, such as the production of coaches at its Skopje plant in northern Macedonia.

Meanwhile, from 2024-2027 the company will restructure work at its Koningshooikt site in Belgium, where around 1,100 employees will lose their jobs.

Van Hool's office in Belgium
Van Hool’s factory in Belgium
Co-CEO Marc Zwaaneveld said:

“We understand the impact this plan will have on employees and their families, and it is hard for us to take this step. However, given the highly pressing situation the company finds itself in, it is truly necessary to take these measures to secure a sustainable future for Van Hool. With this Recovery Plan Van Hool remains a meaningful employer in Flanders.”

The most significant number of employee departures will take place this year, with around 830 people being made redundant, retiring or leaving.  In 2025 and 2026, over 50 more natural departures are expected, and in 2027, around another 220 employees will leave the company through redundancies and pension schemes.

This recovery plan responds to the challenging financial conditions the company is currently experiencing. The company states that this is due to several factors, including the impact of COVID-19, high energy costs, inflation and global component supply issues.

To address these problems, Van Hool states that it will now be more selective in accepting new orders in the public transport sector.

Meanwhile, production of buses and coaches will primarily take place at its plant in Skopje, rather than Koningshooikt. In Koningshooikt, the division will instead focus on semi-trailers requiring a higher degree of expertise.  However, the bus and coach sector will keep its knowledge centre, research & development, prototype building and after-sales facilities in Koningshooikt.

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