Building sector upbeat as turnover reaches a new high

Building sector upbeat as turnover reaches a new high

Turnover in the building sector rose by 5.5% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2017, the national statistics office CBS said on Wednesday. Business confidence in the building sector was the highest of all industrial sectors at the beginning of the second quarter of this year, and at its highest level since 2008. Construction companies expect sales and jobs number to continue to increase. Companies in the civil (houses and buildings) and utility sectors saw sales rise by 9.5% in the first quarter of 2017, the tenth consecutive quarter in which sales were higher. But the total now lies some 14% lower than the level reached in early 2008, the CBS said. Companies involved in groundwork, roads and waterworks booked an increase of 4.1%,  its first increase in four quarters. This was boosted by work on rails and tunnels which registered 6% growth. A total of 14,361 new houses were completed in the first quarter, nearly 40% up on  the year-earlier period and the fourth consecutive quarter of increases. Building licenses were granted for a further 15,571 new homes in the first quarter of 2017, a 43% increase.  More >

Amsterdam tourism benefit overstated

Building sector upbeat as turnover reaches a new high The economic benefits of tourism in Amsterdam have been exaggerated and its financial impact under-estimated, according to research by investigative journalism platform Investico and magazine De Groene Amsterdammer. Much of the profit earned from tourism goes to a few large firms, many of which are foreign, and city council figures don't take the full cost of dealing with tourists into account, the researchers say. For example, the city claims 17 million people visit Amsterdam every year and spend €9.7bn. However, half the visitors are Dutch and the total also includes people from Amstelveen going out for a meal or visiting friends, the researchers said. Estimates about the number of jobs created by tourism also vary widely, from 154,000 according to Amsterdam Marketing to 61,000 according to the city's statistics office O&S. Many of these jobs are part-time jobs in cafes, cultural attractions and transport - all of which are also used by Amsterdammers, the researchers point out. The city council has introduced a ban on building new hotels in the city centre but 22 more are in the pipeline, and 100 will be opened across the city in total. Subsidies Taking the cost of marketing the city, policing tourists, subsidising museums and the impact on liveability into account, the researchers estimate tourism costs the city €71m a year, which is well above the €64m raised in tourism taxes. The city's economic affairs alderman Kasja Ollongren told broadcaster NOS the problems caused by tourism in the city centre are now being addressed. Tourist taxes are being increased, the city is clamping down on illegal accommodation providers and efforts are being made to spread tourists throughout the city, she said.  More >

Sustainable activist ignored by Shell

Building sector upbeat as turnover reaches a new high Shareholders in Royal Dutch/Shell rejected a resolution by environmental activist group Follow This to set and publish annual targets to reduce carbon emissions at the energy group's AGM on Tuesday. Many institutional investors opposed the resolution or withheld their vote, the Telegraaf said. They said the resolution was too tough because it included so-called 'Scope-3 emissions' which are those generated by a product which has already been sold on. Shell chairman Ben van Beurden said his measure would result in reducing production and sales. He said instead Shell would engage more with shareholders about its plans to tackle climate change. Follow This founder Mark van Baal said support for the resolution had doubled to 6% in one year. 'And Shell is now not only talking about oil and gas but also about renewable energy,' he said. Follow This is broadening its scope to include other energy companies such as BP. This article was amended on May 25 to reflect support for the motion doubling in one year.  More >

PPG holds all options open in Akzo quest

Building sector upbeat as turnover reaches a new high PPG Industries is holding all its options open in its attempt to acquire its Dutch peer AkzoNobel, the US paints group chairman Michael McGarry said at a press conference on Tuesday morning, the Telegraaf reported. McGarry said that no AkzoNobel shareholder supported the company's stand-alone proposal. He reiterated he had never seen such animosity between a company and its shareholders as he had seen at Amsterdam company court on Monday. The court was meeting to hear AkzoNobel shareholder Elliott Advisors call for the removal of supervisory board chairman Antony Burgmans. Elliott's demand is backed by other shareholders representing 18% of AkzoNobel shares. The decision will be announced on Monday 29 May after the close of trading. McGarry said he would wait until the verdict was heard before making his next move, saying only that PPG remained interested in buying AkzoNobel. He is also seeking to buy time. Dutch bourse watchdog AFM has given PPG until 1 June to make a firm offer for AkzoNobel or lose its rights to make a bid. McGarry has asked the AFM To extend that date by three weeks to allow PPG to ready its next move. Akzo Nobel has already turned down three offers made by PPG, the latest was for €26.9bn.  More >

Eurostar terminal underway in Amsterdam

Work to start on terminal for Amsterdam to London train A new secure Eurostar terminal is being built on the north side of Amsterdam's Centraal Station ahead of the start-up of the express rail services to London in mid-December, the Parool reported on Tuesday. The special terminal on the north side of the station adjoining platform 15B is necessary because Britain requires passport and security controls similar to those at airports. Eurostar expects to begin twice-daily return services between Amsterdam and London with stops at Rotterdam and Brussels in mid-December. A stop at Schiphol airport is under consideration but there is a lack of space to build a specialist terminal, the paper said. The journey from Amsterdam to London  will take four hours and nine minutes. A third daily service may be added in 2018.   More >