Van Hool announces strategic realignment and intention to make collective redundancies.

Posted on
11 March, 2024
  • Van Hool launches recovery plan with which it envisions a sustainable future on its own merits.
  • Public transport will be approached more selectively as a market segment.
  • Between 2024 - 2027, workforce would be reduced by around 1,100 employees.

Koningshooikt, Belgium - Van Hool, an independent manufacturer of buses, coaches and industrial vehicles, presented the outlines of its Van Hool Recovery Plan to employee representatives at a special works council. The company expressed its intention to strategically refocus its activities towards market segments where customers consciously choose the high quality of Van Hool products.

The implementation of the Van Hool Recovery Plan is designed to enable a sustainable future under its own steam for the company. Unfortunately, the intention to refocus also entails difficult interventions. To support this strategic change of direction, organisation, working methods and number of employees will have to be brought in line. The company therefore deeply regrets that, in the period 2024-2027, it would implement a necessary restructuring at the Koningshooikt site. This plan would result in the departure of about 1,100 valued colleagues during that period.

Commenting on this, 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 largest number of departures, around 830, would take place this year. This includes various forms of departure such as redundancies, retirement schemes and natural attrition. In the years 2025 and 2026, based on past experience, over 50 more natural departures would be planned, allowing the recovery plan targets for that period to be met. In 2027, around another 220 employees would leave the company through redundancies and pension schemes. Over time, the Van Hool Recovery Plan envisages direct employment of about 1,400 employees and almost 3,000 if you include indirect employment, the vast majority of which is in the region. 

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

The Van Hool Recovery Plan and the associated refocusing of operations are the answer to turn around the challenging financial conditions in which Van Hool finds itself. These conditions were caused by several factors, including the impact of the corona virus, high energy costs, high inflation and global component supply problems. Van Hool's management is determined to address these challenges and, through the implementation of the Van Hool Recovery Plan, get the company back on track. 

Van Hool will engage with customers from various markets, including public transport, to discuss the implications of this potential realignment. Indeed, this change means that the company will be more selective in accepting new orders from public transport.

Production of buses and coaches would mainly take place at the plant in Skopje, northern Macedonia. In Koningshooikt, the IV (Industrial Vehicles) division would focus on semi-trailers requiring a higher degree of expertise and offering higher added value for the customer as well as for Van Hool. The B&C (Bus & Coach) division would keep its knowledge centre, research & development, prototype building and after-sales in Koningshooikt.

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


For further information, please contact:

Dirk Snauwaert - Communications Manager Van Hool
Bernard Van Hoolstraat 58, 
2500 Lier (Koningshooikt) – BELGIUM
t      +32 (0)3 420 22 12
m    +32 (0)499 555 032