Store revamp as Dutch high street staple Hema is readied for sale

Store revamp as Dutch high street staple Hema is readied for sale

Dutch high street staple Hema opened a new-style outlet in Tilburg on Thursday where the emphasis has shifted subtly towards food, the Telegraaf reported on Friday. The paper said Hema is targeting healthy eating, with salads, home-made fries, fresh pastas, pizzas, sandwiches and fresh soups, all prepared on the premises while the customer waits. Hema chief Tjeerd Jegen told the paper everything will involve 100% fresh ingredients. British venture capital fund Lion Capital has owned Hema for 10 years and has twice tried to divest it in that period. Lion expects to be rid of Hema next year, but this could occur either through a sale or a stock exchange launch, the Telegraaf said. Jegen has pumped millions of euros ino the Hema store in Tilburg which is meant to serve as a model for future Hemas elsewhere in the Benelux counties. 'We want everyone to come to us for a meal, not just Hema shoppers,' he said. Jegen claims the food will increase traffic to Hema stores. 'In the past people came to Hema to shop. Now we think they'll come in for a good meal and then do their shopping,' he told the paper. Jegen also forecast double-digit sales increases in the stores as a result of the revamp. Food has higher margins than other goods sold by Hema and now accounts for  one-third of all Hema sales.  More >

HAL has healthiest Dutch pension fund

Store revamp as Dutch high street staple Hema is readied for sale The pension fund of investment group HAL is the healthiest in the country with a coverage ratio of 184%, the Telegraaf reported on Friday. This means HAL has €1.84 in its pension fund for every euro it is obligated to pay out. The family doctors' pension fund is also looking healthy with a coverage ratio of 132%, the paper said. The HAL pension fund was founded to pay the pensions of 1,500 former workers from the Holland-America shipping line but the company has since been turned into an investment group. Currently just 42 people are paying pension contributions. The Netherlands boasts a strong system of pension funds meaning that pensioners are generally well taken care of in their retirement years The average employee contributes 7% of his or her salary to a pension scheme while the employer places double that amount into the account. Nevertheless, central bank figures show the majority of pension funds still don't have enough assets to meet minimum requirements, the Telegraaf said. The four very large sector funds are performing especially badly, the central bank said. Civil servants pension fund APB had a coverage factor of 96.3% in mid-2017, the care sector pension funds Zorg & Welzijn had a coverage ratio of 94.2% while the two funds in the metals sector had coverage ratios of just over 96%.  More >

Funeral insurer charges families more fees

Funeral insurer charges families extra fees despite court ruling: Volkskrant Funeral insurer Yarden is continuing to charge grieving families extra fees to carry out funerals even though this was ruled illegal in 2014, the Volkskrant said on Friday. The extra charge affects 60,000 people who paid for a policy which specified which services would be offered – such as type of coffin, cars and cards - but not cost. The cooperative which issued this policy was taken over by Yarden in 2001. Yarden told policy holders in 2007 that it wanted to end this type of insurance and that maximum coverage would only be up to €3,733, on condition they worked with a Yarden-approved funeral home. Those who wanted to choose their own funeral home would get just €2,304 towards the cost of the service and burial. Judges said in 2014 that if the final cost is more than Yarden had expected, it should still pick up the bill and families should get what their original policy entitled them to. Nevertheless, the standard Yarden funeral has gone up in price to over €6,000, and the company is asked relatives to pick up an even bigger bill, the Volkskrant said. Yarden director Klaas de Boer told the paper only a few people are affected. 'We consider people that took out that type of policy are getting more than they are entitled to,' he told the paper. 'They have not paid for it.'  More >

Dutch prosecutors reach $274m Telia deal

Store revamp as Dutch high street staple Hema is readied for sale Three Rotterdam based subsidiaries of Swedish telecom giant Telia have agreed to pay $274m in an out of court settlement for bribing government officials and keeping inaccurate books and records. The fine relates to the company’s efforts to gain access to the Uzbek telecom market, during which officials paid bribes to the eldest daughter of the former president of Uzbekistan via its Dutch subsidiaries, the public prosecution department said. The deal covers the period 2007 to 2010. Telia has also reached settlements with the US department of justice and the US securities and exchange commission. In total, the company has agreed to pay $965m to settle the charges. The Netherlands considers the fine as ‘appropriate’, the Dutch prosecutor said in a statement. ‘It is a punishment that hurts, and it does justice to the significance of the acts committed as well as to the disruption these acts caused to the legal order.  The parallel [US] government action against corruption demonstrates that corruption is tackled internationally.’  More >

Dutch court upholds UberPop ban

Dutch court upholds ban on controversial UberPop service Taxi service UberPop is to remain banned in the Netherlands but the company’s UberX service does meet Dutch taxi legislation, judges said on Thursday. Uber stopped its controversial Uberpop service in the Netherlands in November 2015 after it was branded illegal by the Dutch courts and the company was handed down several fines. Uberpop allows unlicenced drivers to use their own cars as taxis and has been banned in several other countries. The company appeal court on Thursday upheld the lower court’s ruling and said three fines totaling €360,000 were justified. However a second fine of €650,000 which Uber faced for its UberX service was wrongful, the court said, because  UberX drivers are licenced.   More >