Van Hool reorganization won’t impact 2024 bus production, says ABC Companies

In the wake of an announcement by Van Hool that the Belgium bus maker plans to file bankruptcy with a possible relaunch afterward, its North America distributor, ABC Companies, is assuring customers that they remain a priority.

“Van Hool has entered a reorganization period, allowing them to pause existing repayments while a collective plan is finalized with all lenders,” ABC Companies shared in an email to Bus & Motorcoach News. “During this time, Van Hool is pursuing options in parallel paths to position for future activities, providing a reassuring path forward which we believe will have a positive outcome within the next few weeks.”

In an announcement read by Van Hool representatives at a press conference on Monday, the company indicated that an inheritance dispute between the shareholders and the Van Hool family has created an obstacle in moving forward with a recovery plan announced on March 3 that involves closing a longtime Belgium plant. 

Van Hool
The Van Hool plant in Belgium. (File photo)

“We have to conclude that the implementation of the recovery plan is unfortunately no longer possible,” the company said in a statement read at a press conference, according to a report by the Belgium News Agency. 

A deadline to resolve the dispute was set for Monday afternoon, but was not met. “In this situation, we have to conclude that the implementation of the recovery plan is unfortunately no longer possible,” said spokesperson Dirk Snauwaert.

Production on schedule

Despite the dispute, there’s no change in the Van Hool production schedule and the company continues to work at full capacity for 2024, according to ABC Companies, noting that “buses and parts continue to be shipped as planned and orders for all motorcoaches, including electric, and motorcoach parts are being received as normal.”

ABC added that while Van Hool will be moving all production of motorcoaches to its Macedonia facility, North American production has been sourced in the Macedonia facility since 2014, which should result in a seamless transition for ABC and its customers and allow work to continue in a “business as usual” environment.

Van Hool
The Van Hool plant in Belgium.

“North America and ABC Companies continues to be a top priority for Van Hool and remains a bright spot in their portfolio and future plans,” the Orlando-based distributor said. 

In January, ABC Companies announced that the two companies finalized details to continue the long-term distribution agreement for Van Hool motorcoaches in the North American market through ABC Companies.

“It is amazing to see the  synergies between the Cornell and Van Hool families,” ABC Companies CEO Roman Cornell said in a statement in January. “Both Fillip and I are the third generation of family-operated organizations. It is a great honor for both of us to carry on the traditions started by our grandparents and solidified by our parents and their siblings.”

Van Hool is among many transportation brands sold by ABC Companies, which sells new and pre-owned full-size highway coach equipment along with transit specialty vehicles including battery electric vehicles. 

ABC offers a comprehensive after-sales service network for service and repairs, collision services, and extensive OEM and aftermarket parts for transit, motorcoach, and heavy-duty equipment from locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. 

“Van Hool and the ABC Companies have been industry stalwarts for decades,” said UMA’s President and CEO Scott Michael. “We have no doubt they will continue during this challenging post pandemic era to do a great job serving their customers.”

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