Costs to clean up Petten nuclear plant escalate

Eindhoven requests €170m to attract foreign tech, win war for talent

The Dutch cabinet is allocating an extra €117m to clean up nuclear waste at its Petten reactor, minister Carola Schouten told MPs on Tuesday. The Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ERN) at Petten currently supplies 60% of European demand for medical radio isotopes used to treat cancer and heart disease. The nuclear waste which has to be cleaned up came from other activities at Petten in the past. The new funds will be used to to transfer the barrels filled with radioactive waste to the central nuclear storage facility at the Borssele nuclear power station in Zeeland province. The state has already spent some €200m to resolve the waste situation at Petten.   More >

Hefty 'golden hello' for new Randstad exec

Eindhoven requests €170m to attract foreign tech, win war for talent The two major Dutch investors lobby groups VEB and Eumedion have slammed the big sign-on bonus being given by temps group Randstad to its new chief financial officer, the Telegraaf reported on Tuesday. Henry Schirmer, a German national now serving with Unilever's European operations, will replace Robert Jan van de Kraats at the end of March. To welcome him to his new position, the temps agency is giving him a shares package worth €750,000 which is slightly more than his fixed annual salary at Randstad. If Schirmer stays in his position for five years, the package is sweetened even more because he will then be able to cash it in no matter what his performance as CFO. VEB 'We would prefer to see executives receive bonuses on the basis of actual performance,' said David Tomic, economist at the shareholders lobby group VEB. The VEB is planning to discuss Schirmmer's shares package with Randstad's supervisory board. Rients Abma, chairman of Eumedion, a group which represents institutional investors, said welcome bonuses 'unfortunately' are becoming more prevalent. Intertrust and Eyewish which own the spectacles chains Pearle and Eyewish both recently awarded new top executives big stock bonuses. Randstad shareholders must approve Schirmer's bonus package at the AGM in late March. A Randstad spokesman said the bonus was to compensate Schirmer for Unilever shares he can no longer collect.  More >

Round Hill joins Utrecht housing project

Eindhoven requests €170m to attract foreign tech, win war for talent British property investment company Round Hill and Dutch developers G&S Vastgoed and Boelens de Gruyter are investing €300m in developing part of a new Utrecht city district close to the Merwede canal, the Financieele Dagblad said on Tuesday. As yet it is unclear how many homes will be built on the 4.5 hectare site bought by the three. Under local authority rules, 30% must be rent controlled properties and 25% in the middle income rental segment. Round Hill first entered the Dutch property market in 2014 when it bought 4,000 rental properties from struggling housing corporation WIF. It has since expanded its Dutch portfolio to 10,000 homes. In total between 6,000 and 10,000 homes are being built in the Merwede canal zone, with amenities for 20,000 new inhabitants.   More >

Expensive drugs are blackmail: health boss

Eindhoven requests €170m to attract foreign tech, win war for talent The Dutch healthcare institute Zorginstituut Nederland says insurers should stop paying for expensive drugs if pharmaceutical companies continue to refuse to say how they arrive at the price, the Financieele Dagblad said on Monday. The institute, which assesses the efficacy of new drugs and advises the government on whether they should be included in the basic healthcare policy, says the drugs companies are effectively blackmailing officials by refusing to be transparent about their prices. In particular, the ZN is angry about the drug Spinraza, which costs €250,000 per patient per year. It has recommended that the drug, used to treat spinal muscular atrophy, should not be covered by insurance unless the manufacturers chop 85% from the price. ZN chairman Arnold Moerkamp told the FD he thinks officials should seriously consider not funding drugs, despite the impact on patients. 'We are not only here for the patients who will use the new medicine but the 17 million people who have to pay the bill,' he said. 'If you decide to pay for one medicine, you won't be able to pay for another's treatment. You can only spend your budget once.' Pharmaceutical companies say that the high development costs are the reason why new drugs can be so expensive.  More >

Dutch energy company Eneco to be sold

Eindhoven requests €170m to attract foreign tech, win war for talent Dutch energy company Eneco, which is currently owned by 53 local authorities including Rotterdam, will be sold to the private sector after all. The company has issued a statement saying that the local authority shareholders and management board have reached agreement on the terms of the sale. The shareholders and board will 'together take the steps in the short term towards the privatisation of the Eneco Group'. Rotterdam had pushed for the sale of Eneco after its grid operations were sold off last year. Rotterdam, with 32%, is the biggest shareholder in Eneco. The Hague, which voted to hold on to its shares, is the second-largest with more than 16%. If sold or floated Eneco could raise up to €3bn for its owners, most of which have tiny 1% or 2% stakes. Shareholders in October voted by a large majority to sell the company but the boards called for either an IPO or a partial sale which would allow the company to continue focusing on renewable energy. The two sides started mediation last month and have now 'made clear commitments' on a wide range of issues, including management pay, the statement said. The Financieele Dagblad said in January that Shell was making preparations to bid for green energy firm. Other potential buyers include investment company HAL, pension fund PGGM, Japan’s Mitsubishi, Austrian energy group Vebund, private equity group CVC and French energy giant Engie, the FD said.  More >