‘Business, political and legal issues attract multinationals to Holland’

Business, political and legal considerations are behind the decision of so many international companies to locate to the Netherlands, the Financieele Dagblad said on Tuesday.

The newly-merged advertising giant Publicis Omnicom is to locate its HQ in the Netherlands, as is the combination of Fiat Industrial and American tractor company GNH Global, the FD points out.

And five other major multinationals have also recently opted to shift to the Netherlands, the paper states.


Paul Cronheim, a partner at law firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, tells the paper he sees a trend. ‘In particular when there is a merger of two equal international firms there is often talk of locating the main holding in the Netherlands,’ he said.

Cronheim led the Omnicom team during the merger talks. His NautaDutilh counterpart Hein Hooghoudt, who led the Publicis team, agrees. ‘We are often involved in international mergers in whch the headquarters comes to the Netherlands and I expect more to follow,’ he is quoted as saying.

The Netherlands is attractive because it is a neutral country, Cronheim says. It is also interesting from a business, political and legal viewpoint, particularly as companies can opt for either a single or two-tier board.

However, the tax office also plays a role. Omnicon chief executive John Wren said shortly after the merger, the choice of the Netherlands had been largely dictated by the tax situation, the FD pointed out.

Nevertheless, both Cronheim and Hooghoudt emphasise that the fact the Netherlands is neutral territory was the main driver.

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