KLM works council questions Air France's new budget offshoot

KLM works council questions Air France’s new budget offshoot

KLM's works council said plans revealed last week by Air France about its new budget subsidiary Joon are not in the interest of the Dutch unit of Air France-KLM, Dutch broadcaster NOS said on Monday. 'We are watching developments very carefully,' said Jan-Willem van Dijk, chairman of KLM's works council. Air France hopes to redress the balance between the two partners in the merged airline through the new budget carrier, somewhat oddly called Joon. As is widely known, NOS said, KLM has been outperforming Air France for years, which Air France terms an 'unhealthy situation'. Joon will operate short-haul European flights initially to meet competition with carriers from the Middle East, NOS said. Air France said Joon will pose no hindrance to the growth of KLM. KLM's works council has long had doubts about the marriage of the two carriers. Last week a leaked internal memorandum spelled out the concern of senior managers in the combine. In the leaked document KLM employees complained that even though English was the agreed common language at Air France KLM, French staffers refused to speak it with their Dutch colleagues.  More >

NL is biggest tax haven conduit: research

KLM works council questions Air France’s new budget offshoot The Netherlands is the biggest conduit to offshore tax havens in the world, with almost a quarter of fiscal constructions having a Dutch link, according to researchers at a specialist unit at the University of Amsterdam. 'Only five big countries act as conduit-OFCs,' the researchers from Corpnet said in a new report. 'Together these five conduits channel 47% of corporate offshore investment from tax havens, according to the data we analysed.' The two biggest conduits by far are the Netherlands (23%) and the United Kingdom (14%), followed by Switzerland (6%), Singapore (2%) and Ireland (1%). The researchers set out to identify countries or jurisdictions that play a role in corporate ownership chains incommensurate with the size of their domestic economies. 'Our results show that offshore finance is not the exclusive business of exotic small islands far away. Countries such as the Netherlands and the United Kingdom play a crucial yet previously hidden role as conduits of offshore finance on its way to tax havens,' the rsearchers said. Networks They analysed the global network of ownership relationships, with information about over 98 million firms, differentiating between 24 'sink-OFCs' which attract and retain foreign capital such as the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands and five 'conduit-OFCs' like the Netherlands. Although most of the tax havens were as to be expected, Taiwan was a surprise entrant on the list, the researchers said. 'We find a clear geographical specialisation in the offshore financial network,' the report said. 'The Netherlands is the conduit between European companies and Luxembourg. The United Kingdom is the conduit between European countries and former members of the British Empire, such as Hong Kong, Jersey, Guernsey or Bermuda.' The researchers hope their findings will enable regulators working to end tax evasion target the policy to the sectors and territories where the offshore activity concentrates. 'While efforts usually focus on small exotic islands, we showed that the main sinks of corporate ownership chains are highly developed countries which have signed numerous tax treaty agreements,' the report said.  More >

Philips Lighting revenues under pressure

Philips Lighting posted higher second-quarter earnings but higher sales of LED lighting failed to compensate for the decline in the market for conventional lighting, news website Nu.nl reported. Turnover fell by 2% in the second quarter of 2017 to €1.7bn. Sales of standard light bulbs fell by 20%, while turnover from LED lighting rose by 23%. Sales of home LED lighting systems were 15% higher but turnover from professional LED lighting systems fell off by 2.3%. While market conditions remain uncertain, Philips Lighting is upbeat about growth for full-year 2017 which will include several large-scale infrastructure projects in the US. The second quarter, was less successful particularly in smaller projects. 'The market is there, but clients are sometimes hesitant to make decisions about investments,' Philips Lighting director Eric Rondolat said. Profitability increased on all fronts with second-quarter net profit coming in at €73m, more than 25% higher than in the year-earlier period.   More >

Rotterdam may miss new trade with China

KLM works council questions Air France’s new budget offshoot Rotterdam port authority, backed by the Dutch government, must invest much more in logistics to and from China and the rest of southest Asia. Otherwise, Europe's largest port may 'miss the boat' and become isolated, warns a report by leading German consultancy Roland Berger. 'The new Silk Route is a long-term project in which the Chinese government is investing billions. Wages are increasing in China, so jobs are moving to Vietnam and Bangladesh. As a result new logistics streams are developing,' Shanghai-based port expert Dennis Dupoux was quoted as saying in the Telegraaf on Friday. The position of the Netherlands as a global trading power is under increasing pressure. Therefore Rotterdam and The Hague  should invest in support stations in Asia with customs facilities to ensure the goods keep moving through, said Arnoud van der Sloot of Roland Berger. But Rotterdam port director Allard Castelein sees nothing in what he terms a reversed Silk Road to China. 'We are going on with our position as the most accessible deep-water seaport in Europe for goods destined for the European hinterland. China is building up its own European infrastructure, spending some $20bn in buying up ports including Piraeus in Greece. The Chinese are also considering having their own terminal in Hamburg. Rold Berger said Rotterdam runs the risk of becoming isolated in this manner. Strong first half Rotterdam booked a  record 238 million tonnes of international ocean-going goods transport in the first half of 2017, 4% more than in the year-earlier period. Container numbers shot up by 10%. Castelein said multi-billion investments in the port have been announced. 'That's a sign that the business community continues to believe in Rotterdam,' he said.  More >

Public transport payment app flops so far

KLM works council questions Air France’s new budget offshoot The introduction of a system allowing people to pay for public transport by mobile phone was chaotic and the boss of the company in charge says the first few days were 'worthless', the AD said on Friday. New figures show 4,702 people have managed to pay for a bus or train trip by swiping their mobile phones but most people who downloaded the app have failed to get the new payment system working, the paper said. Translink director Arco Groothedde told the paper: 'The first few days were worthless. I can't say anything else.' The system should allow subscribers to Vodafone, KPN, Telfort, Simyo and Yes Telecom to swipe their phones at check-in points rather than use their OV chipcard. The system is currently only available to passengers paying the full fare. However, the chaos among KPN subscribers was so serious that Translink blocked new KPN users from registering to use the system. It is now being reopened to them but loading the app is still proving complex, the AD said. According to figures from the Google Play store, the app has been downloaded between 10,000 and 50,000 times.  More >