VDL has been hot on the heels of Van Hool in the US since last year


April 1, 2024
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While Van Hool is experiencing its last hours before bankruptcy, competitor and potential acquirer VDL already has a foot in the door with the American distributor of the Lierse bus company.

The Dutch VDL already has a foot in the door with Van Hool’s American distributor. Several sources confirm this to the editors of De Tijd. In response, a VDL spokesperson confirms that an agreement of intent was concluded with ABC at the end of last year to supply VDL buses in the United States.

One of Van Hool’s few real crown jewels is its relationship with ABC, which has an extensive sales network in the large American market for city buses and coaches. The US is therefore one of the most important sales markets for Van Hools touring buses. The company from Koningshooikt also holds a significant minority interest of 38 percent of the shares of ABC.

However, ABC has reportedly been concerned for some time about the future of Van Hool and thus the steady supply of coaches. The distributor is not alone: ​​bus tour companies also fear a shortage if the Lier company collapses. Van Hool is the only brand that ABC sells as a coach in the US. Due to this vulnerability, the distributor started looking at possible other suppliers, such as VDL, in the second half of last year.

ABC has been concerned about the future of Van Hool for some time and therefore looked to Van Hool’s competitor VDL for a steady stream of touring buses.

ABC and VDL Groep have known each other for years. In addition to VDL Bus & Coach, the Dutch industrial conglomerate consists of dozens of other companies, including VDL Parts. This supplies parts for the truck and bus industry and is an important supplier of ABC, which not only sells but also maintains buses.

VDL Coach & Bus mainly makes city buses, but also produces coaches. This is why the VDL division and ABC signed a declaration of intent at the end of last year to also include VDL buses in ABC’s range.

The deal is particularly notable because Van Hool’s co-CEO, Filip Van Hool, has a seat on ABC’s board of directors and therefore must have been aware of the plans to acquire a second European coach supplier.

With VDL on board, ABC ensures a steady flow of coaches in the event that Van Hool goes under or if the production of coaches at Van Hool stops due to the takeover by another player. The letter of intent between ABC and VDL means that a rescued Van Hool may also be able to sell fewer coaches in the US in the future, because it will then be confronted with competition from VDL.

However, these dangers disappear when VDL, together with its German partner, the trailer builder Schmitz Cargobull, succeeds in taking over Van Hool after a flash bankruptcy. In addition to the VDL-Schmitz combination, the Flemish business doctor Guido Dumarey is a candidate to take care of the remains of a bankrupt Van Hool.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: VDL hot heels Van Hool year


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