Hotel website Booking.com, until recently one of the most profitable companies in the Netherlands, has asked for government support as the number of bookings plunges to 15% of those of a year ago, according to the Volkskrant and the Financieele Dagblad.
The company has asked for help to pay its 5,500 workers in the Netherlands and 48 customer service staff who were still in their probationary period have been let go as the impact of coronavirus on tourism continues to bite, the Volkskrant said.
The company is a major employer in Amsterdam with a IT workforce comprising 80 different nationalities. According to the VK, the average salary at the Dutch operation is €47,000 a year.
The FD points out that the application for support to pay staff follows a major share buy-back programme in 2019. The company has also borrowed $4bn on the capital markets in recent weeks.
In the prospectus, the FD says, Booking.com said it has sufficient liquidity to last until the end of 2021. The company, founded in Enschede in 1996 and since taken over by US giant Priceline, booked net profit of $4.9bn last year.
Booking told the FD in a statement that it is grateful for the government support, which has enabled it to prevent redundancies and to meet short term financing requirements.
DutchNews.nl has contacted Booking.com for comment.
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