2024-05-28 05:00News

Belgian metal entrepreneurs increasingly auction due to voluntary business closure

Industrial Technology: an emploayee uses a tablet during the sales process of metalworking machinery.

  • 9 out of 10 Auctions in the Belgian metal sector due to voluntary business closure
  • Younger generation less willing to take over parents' business
  • Significant shortage of technically skilled personnel

Belgian companies in the metal sector are currently facing difficulties and growing uncertainty. A shortage of personnel in the industry is proving particularly challenging for entrepreneurs. As a result, more of them are voluntarily deciding to close their businesses. This is evident from figures provided by Troostwijk Auctions, which are recognized by Vlamef, the Flemish Metal Federation for SMEs.

Rise of Eastern European bidders and buyers
In 2023, Troostwijk Auctions organized 81 auctions for 53 companies within the Belgian metal sector, nearly the same as the 85 auctions in 2022. A total of 7,599 lots were auctioned in 2023. The first five months of 2024 show that this year, too, a significant number of organizations in the metal sector are ceasing their activities, with 30 auctions already held this calendar year. The online auction platform notes growing interest from Eastern Europe. “In recent years, we are seeing more and more bids and buyers for Belgian equipment from Eastern Europe. Especially from countries like Romania, Poland, and the Czech Republic,” says Joos Dauwe, Metal Account Manager at Troostwijk Auctions.

Fewer continuations by the new generation
Of the 53 metal companies that went to auction, the majority (49) voluntarily closed their businesses. "In the past, children would often take the family business over after their parents," says Dauwe. “In conversations with entrepreneurs, we are noticingthat the new generation, unfortunately, is not eager to take over the company. Finding a successor outside the family is also challenging. As a result, metal entrepreneurs increasingly choose to close the business. By closing voluntarily, they maintain control. Making such difficult decisions is also entrepreneurship."

Personnel shortage the biggest hurdle
Vlamef, the Flemish Metal Federation for SMEs, recognizes the figures communicated by Troostwijk. "Small and medium-sized entrepreneurs are having a very hard time. This is mainly due to a significant shortage in personnel. The sector is aging considerablely; as inflow is stagnant. Younger generations increasingly show less interested in manual work. The government has pushed for a knowledge economy, but the essence of the engineering profession is no longer being taught. Additionally, government regulations are increasing pressure on entrepreneurs. It is no longer enjoyable to run a business in this sector. If we do not turn the tide, many entrepreneurs will have no choice but to close their businesses and sell off their inventory,” says Johan van Bosch, General Secretary at Vlamef.

Topics: BE

About Troostwijk Auctions

Troostwijk Auctions believes that everything has value and is driven to make digital auctioning the best way to add value for business sellers and buyers. The digital auction platform optimally connects local, convenient and fast sales with global demand. They do this by combining the power of their people, technology and data. This is how Troostwijk Auctions builds a profitable business, rewards their people and extends the life of goods to reduce waste and emissions. Each year, Troostwijk Auctions auctions more than 1 million lots for companies in sectors such as agriculture, food, metal, construction, earthmoving and transportation & logistics. The company has an average of 4 million visits to the platform per month, local sector specialists throughout Europe and buyers in 175 countries. For more information about Troostwijk Auctions: https://www.troostwijkauctions.com/


Annelies van den Dool
Brand and Communications Manager
Annelies van den Dool