Housing corporation loses €230m on cruise line project
Friday 22 June 2012
Rotterdam housing corporation Woonbron will make a loss of almost €230m on the sale of a former cruise liner, which it bought to turn into a hotel and congress centre, the NRC reports on Friday.
Woonbron bought the SS Rotterdam in 2005, saying at the time the sale and renovation would cost €6m. But the actual cost rose to €256m, partly because the ship was riddled with asbestos. Delays also added to the final bill.
The housing corporation now expects the sale of the former Holland America line flagship will only raise €25m, leaving it with a massive shortfall on the deal.
A spokesman told the NRC that the corporation will be able to shoulder the loss because it is a 'healthy, stable company'. Nevertheless, the corporation is embarking on a reorganisation next year, the paper points out.
Earlier this year, MPs called on the government to set up a parliamentary inquiry into housing corporations following a string of scandals and financial problems.
In January, it emerged the Netherlands' biggest housing corporation Vestia is in financial difficulty after speculating on the financial markets on interest rates. Rotterdam-based Vestia, which manages 89,000 homes, also paid its former boss a €3.5m pay-off.