Marc Van Hool Fund goes to court against sale of Van Hool trailer division

Marc Van Hool Fund goes to court against sale of Van Hool trailer division
Marc Van Hool Fund goes to court against sale of Van Hool trailer division

New plot twist in the case of the bankrupt bus builder Van Hool. The investment fund of Marc Van Hool, a grandson of the company’s founder, is going to the corporate court. The fund still wants to be able to bid for part of Van Hool.

According to Cim Capital, serious procedural errors were made in the allocation of the trailer division. This includes violations of insolvency law. “Other candidate bidders have been excluded and have chosen to limit themselves to one bidder,” says Erik Verkest, CEO of Cim Capital.

Verkest points out that Cim Capital’s bid was significantly better than that of GRW Schmitz Cargobull – which the trailer division ultimately won. He says that Cim Capital also offered better guarantees about continued activity in Koningshooikt, while GRW would limit itself to a one-year lease. Cim Capital complains that it was not given access to confidential company information to make a binding offer to compete for the trailer division.

Offer on real estate

Cim Capital had already registered as an interested party in March, before Van Hool’s bankruptcy. When Van Hool was declared bankrupt, Cim Capital submitted an offer to the curators on April 9, in collaboration with the real estate family of Jos Delcroix. The trustees then wrongly continued negotiations only with GRW Schmitz Cargobull instead of also allowing other bidders, Verkest argues.

The fund believes that its offer was superior in any case because it also included an offer for the property. The real estate group Delcrinvest of the Delcroix family wanted to buy all real estate, including that of the bus division, part of the activity of which goes to acquirer VDL.

Cim Capital made a case for the entire trailer division, “and not just the niche products, as in the case of GRW,” says Verkest. Cim Capital stated that it could retain 550 of the 750 jobs. The combined bid by Cim Capital and Delcrinvest would also have been in the interests of the banks, the largest creditors.

Two procedures

The unions reacted with surprise to Cim Capital’s initiative. “We are falling from the sky,” says Peggy Schuermans of ACV Puls. Schuermans is concerned that the protest will create uncertainty, just when about 70 people are now active again in the trailer division. The question is how GRW will respond. Does it choose to continue working, even if it is not 100 percent certain that it will still be the owner of the trailer division within a few weeks?

Cim Capital has launched two procedures. In a first procedure, it asks the company court to oblige the liquidators to share the information so that the parties can make a binding offer. The idea is to be able to switch as quickly as possible. Cim is also asking the court to provisionally order that no company assets may leave the building. That first procedure would be handled on May 14.

On May 27, the corporate court would hear the hearing on the actual third-party objection: have mistakes indeed been made?

If the company court were to rule that the bidding procedure had to be repeated, GRW Schmitz Cargobull would normally also be able to bid again, in addition to other parties that came forward. But it remains to be seen whether this will happen. The curators did not wish to respond for the time being.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Marc Van Hool Fund court sale Van Hool trailer division


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