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Van Hool

Van Hool Macedonia DOOEL Ilinden

Realised

Investment value

Announced

42.000.000 euro

Invested

25.969.987 euro

Employment

Announced

950

Employed

820

The Belgian company which produces buses, Van Hool, was announced in January 2012 and laid the cornerstone of its first factory in the Technological Industrial Development Zone Skopje 2, in Bunardzik, in July 2012. During this time, Van Hool announced that it will invest 20 million euros and will employ up to 500 people.

The production began the following year and the company delivered their first buses, produced in Macedonia, to the US market, while the official opening of the factory happened in May 2014. At the opening, the investor said that Van Hool have invested 25 million euros in Macedonia and that in the first year their 430 workers produced 130 buses.

According to data from the Central Register, there were a total of 668 people employed in Van Hool by the end of 2015. In 2016, the number of employees increased to 820.

The total assets of the company amounted to 98.2 million euros, of which 26 million euros were non-current assets, while their founding capital was 5 million. The Belgian company Immorc NV , registered in Lier, is the owner of the factory in Macedonia.

The company’s managers in Macedonia are Philip Van Hool, who introduced himself to the Macedonian public as the owner of the bus factory, and Jan Van Hool, who is responsible for the parent company in Belgium.

The profit Van Hool is making in Macedonia indicates that business is booming. In 2015, the company earned a total revenue of 95.4 million euros from the sales of buses, which is 38.2% more than the previous year, while their profit amounted to 6.55 million euros and almost doubled in a year.

Van Hool is one of the foreign companies that have received state aid from the Government for the construction of their factory. However, the notice of the Commission for Protection of Competition does not reveal how much money the Belgians were granted by the authorities nor what Van Hool committed to in return.

"Exemption from payment of profit tax for a period of XXX years; exemption from paying personal income tax on salaries for a period of XXX years; a grant amounting to XXX euros to cover the construction costs of the facility; assistance for the approved training costs and upskilling in the amount of XXX euros," is a part of the document for the approved state aid for the Belgian company.

However, in an interview for Belgian Daily Trend, manager Philip Van Hool spoke about their factory in Macedonia and stated that they have invested 30 million euros in the country, out of which more than half i.e. 17 million euros came as aid from the Macedonian Government.

He added that the company in Belgium did not turn a profit and that their business was saved by their factory in Macedonia.

With their investment in Macedonia, Philip Van Hool added that his company is celebrating its 65th anniversary.

"They asked me why we invested in Macedonia and not in emerging countries like India and China; Macedonia is exactly one of these emerging investment centres. It has a history of connecting different worlds, the east and west, and now Europe and America. I am convinced that we will succeed with this investment and that we can rely not only on the education of the younger generations from technical schools and the excellent Macedonian universities, but also on the extensive experience in producing quality buses, which were produced in the past in Macedonia, " claimed Van Hool.

Gruevski said that this investment will have many positive effects on Macedonia, as the new factory will directly employ 400 to 500 people, and more companies will indirectly cooperate with Van Hool, offering their logistics and services.

"I believe that the former employees of FAS 11 Oktomvri will also find their place among the new employees, as well as other individuals who have qualifications or previous experience in manufacturing buses and took part in mechanical engineering and the electronics industry. The new factory will bring new knowledge to the automotive industry and new technologies to the world," Gruevski stated.

Four years after the foundation laying ceremony, in January 2016, the Belgian company, located in the zone, laid the cornerstone of another factory worth 17 million euros, which would be opening  450 new jobs. Thus, the total investment of the company in Macedonia will reach 42 million euros and 950 employees.

"So far, we have produced 1,000 buses here, out of which 900 have been exported to the US and 100 in the European market," said Van Hool.

He explained the company is a positive example of cooperation between foreign and domestic companies and emphasised that they cooperate with more than 300 domestic firms.

Van Hool is a family-run company, established in 1947, which produces buses and industrial vehicles.

I could not find any information on English, so I could not verify if this is the exact spelling of the company.

Last update: 04 april 2017

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