The sell-off of Dutch public companies to foreign firms continues apace with the sale of our two biggest energy firms Essent and Nuon to Germany’s RWE and Sweden’s Vattenfall.
And despite mutterings from Socialist MPs about managers with euro signs in their eyes, there has been little in the way of public debate. The sell-off of these publically-owned companies is generally seen as a good thing.
An often-used argument is that it is too risky for state-owned firms to get caught up in commercial ventures in other countries – which they need to embark on in order to survive. So this makes Nuon’s decision to join forces with a 100% state-owned Swedish firm all the more remarkable.
And, as the the NRC points out, Nuon is not the only state company to be effectively sold to a foreign government. Bus firm Connexxion is now owned by the French state company Transdev, for example.
Indeed, you could ask if the French are quite so open to foreign firms as the Dutch.
Amsterdam paper Parool reported on Tuesday that the French cultural centre Maison Descartes is keen to put the multi-million euro repair job for its premises out to European tender, even though it does not have to. Could the French possibly be trying to avoid employing a Dutch firm to carry out the work?
Given the problems with the renovation of the Rijksmuseum and the Noord-Zuid metro line, who can blame them.
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