Dutch banks and major companies have no idea what to expect if Britain does vote to leave the EU, but all have contingency measures ready to be implemented if it happens, business broadcaster RTLZ said on Wednesday.
‘Aegon is for a stable Europe and a Brexit will not contribute to that,’ a spokesman for the Dutch insurance company told the broadcaster. Nevertheless, a pull-out will not impact Aegon’s business because Aegon UK already works with pounds sterling, the spokesman said.
Rabobank told RTLZ it is too soon to talk about the impact on its London operations but indicated the bank is keeping its options open. Any decision to pull out of London ‘depends partly on the decision of other financial institutions and clients’, a spokesman said.
ING takes a similar line. ‘If other banks and clients leave London, then we will do so too,’ a spokesman said. ABN Amro, by contrast, expects little impact as it has limited operations in Britain.
Anglo Dutch oil giant Shell said earlier it expects a Brexit to have an impact on its results but has not given further details. Philips says a Brexit will disadvantage all of the EU and says there is a need for a ‘united’ Europe.
Publishing company Relx (formerly Reed Elsevier) declined to comment on the likely effect. ‘EU membership is a matter for the British people. As a company we have no plans to get involved in the public debate or react to it.’
Unilever too said it ‘never commented on political issues’, RTLZ said.
No acute risks
Meanwhile, Dutch central bank chief Klaas Knot has told news website Nu.nl that Dutch firms which trade with Britain will notice the impact of a Brexit in the long term but that they will not run acute financial risks.
‘They are already exposed to sterling and will remain so,’ he said. ‘And there will be no wave of British bankruptcies.’
Nevertheless, a Brexit will lead to lower productivity and economic growth and a possible recession in Britain itself, Knot said. In addition, a Brexit may lead to the end of free trade agreements.
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