Tackling private equity firms ‘not easy’

It would not be easy to take measures against foreign venture capital groups which take advantage of Dutch tax breaks, finance minister Wouter Bos is reported as saying by the Financieele Dagblad.

Bos was reacting to reports that the private equity firms which own the likes of retail chain Hema and cable company Ziggo have been able reduce their tax bills by hundreds of millions of euros. This is because the Dutch firms are in effect paying for their own takeovers and make a loss on paper.
Bos said the tax system could not be seen to discriminate against certain types of company. ‘Shell borrows money to make takeovers as well,’ Bos, who used to work for the oil giant, was reported as saying.
The paper said Bos plans to give more information about how he plans to tackle the excesses of the private equity sector on September 16, when the government publishes its 2009 spending plans.

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