News Articles

Finance minister calls accusations of selling out a myth

Controversy over foreign raiders

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM - Finance Minister Wouter Bos (Labour, PvdA) calls it a myth that ‘The Netherlands Inc.’ is becoming a prey to foreign raiders. Bos dismissed such charges at a recent seminar of the Holland Finance Centre, a foundation promoting the Netherlands as a favourable location for the financial sector.

Referring to recent turmoil surrounding a series of takeovers of Dutch icons, Bos expressed his dismay at newspaper headlines suggesting such things as ‘The Netherlands selling off’ and ‘Companies looted by financial barbarians’.

The minister indicated that statistics provided by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) do not show a dramatic increase in the takeover numbers of Dutch businesses.

Companies such department store chain Hema, drug store chain Kruidvat, and Johma salads, business icons in the Netherlands, were acquired by foreign-owned companies a long time ago. Even famed coffee roaster Douwe Egberts has been owned by Americans since 1978. Bos noted he had yet to hear a complaint over the quality of DE’s line of coffee.

Interestingly, CPB figures show that public companies in the Netherlands, generate on average 90 percent of their sales abroad, while 80 percent of their employees live elsewhere. Expanding on his point, the minister joked that Dutch business already had implemented globalization while others were still trying to invent it.