Ziggo within striking distance of KPN in fixed link telephony

Dutch households spent more in September, year on year

The popularity of all-in-one phone and internet subscriptions has brought Ziggo to within overtaking distance of KPN when it comes to fixed-link telephony, according to research by Telecompaper. The difference between the two companies has shrunk to 0.2%, with Ziggo's market share climbing to 41.4%, Telecompaper said. KPN has been the undisputed leader in the fixed link market since its privatisation in 1989 but the takeover of Ziggo by Liberty Global in 2014 has created a second major power block in the domestic communications market. Ziggo also recently merged with Vodafone Netherlands. At the end of the third quarter of this year, there were just over six million fixed link telephone connections in the Netherlands, down 2% on a year ago, Telecompaper said. In October, the European Court of Justice told the European Commission to re-examine its approval for the merger between cable companies UPC and Ziggo, even though the two companies joined forces two years ago. The original merger was taken to the European court by KPN, which says the commission had not looked properly at the new combine’s market position for sports broadcasting, the Financieele Dagblad reported.  More >

Egg farmers sue safety board over fipronil

Dutch households spent more in September, year on year Dutch farming organisation LTO is taking the food safety board NVWA to court, claiming it was negligent in the way it handled the contaminated egg scandal earlier this year. In particular LTO says poultry farmers suffered unnecessary financial losses because the NVWA did not take action last November when it was first warned that the pesticide fibronil was being used illegally as an anti-lice agent. 'The enormous damages which poultry farmers have suffered would not have happened if the NVWA had done its job properly,' lawyer Roeland de Mol said on the organisation's website. 'The NVWA knew that fipronil was being used by ChickFriend but did not even give the sector the opportunity to arm itself against it.' The situation was further compounded when an NVWA official told television programme Nieuwsuur after the scandal broke that people would be better off not eating eggs. That led to a 25% reduction in sales, LTO said. The European Commission has given the Belgian government permission to compensate its farmers but the Dutch government maintains that the private sector - ChickFriend - is responsible. However, MPS from three of the four ruling parties have called on the government to clarify its position. The total cost of the scandal has cost the egg industry up to €75m, Trouw said. Of the 793 poultry farms which were closed, two thirds are still out of operation.  More >

Foreign firms create 650,000 extra jobs

Dutch households spent more in September, year on year The 15,000 foreign firms operating in the Netherlands were responsible for creating 650,000 jobs at other companies in 2014, the national statistics office CBS said on Thursday. 'This means jobs for cleaning companies, security companies and accountants,' spokeswoman Marjolijn Jaarsma said. The commercial services sector accounts for 60% of all the additional jobs created by foreign multinationals. Most of the jobs - which come on top of the 700,000 positions at the foreign companies themselves - benefit small and medium-sized firms. Foreign multinationals themselves account for almost 28% of jobs in the Dutch manufacturing and industrial sectors, followed by transport and storage (27%), information and communications (25%) and the retail/wholesale sector (20%)  More >

Philanthropists take hand in integration

Dutch households spent more in September, year on year A private social investment and philanthropic foundation made up of wealthy business people is going to invest hundreds of millions of euros in social policy, much of which will focus on the integration of refugees, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Tuesday. The Maatschappelijk Alliantie (Major Alliance), which represents some 250 business and family investment funds, thinks the integration of migrants is not happening quickly enough and wants to meet all ministers involved to set up programmes for training, integration, housing and employment. It's aim, according to the website, is 'building a better society by bringing together, funds, companies and the government to increase the impact of social initiatives.' The funds are worth some €90bn between them, the FD says. Members are the ‘nouveaux riches’ who became multimillionaires by selling their internet businesses but the Alliance also includes ‘old money’ from family businesses such as Zeeman, C&A, Blokker, Dura and Vermeer. Out from the shadows It is the first time the funds, which usually operate in the background, are manifesting themselves this publicly. According to the FD they preferred to keep a low profile because, given the aggressive tone of the migration debate, calling for homes and jobs for migrants would not go down well with some groups. However, they now seem to have ‘emerged from the shadows,’ the paper writes. The foundation’s involvement in the public domain also means more support for services and facilities which have been left in the cold after the central government transferred many tasks to local councils. The initiative, which will be completely privately financed with the government in the role of facilitator, is not only a philanthropic one but will also entail impact investments, a small but fast-growing form of investment in which the returns, for instance from rent for housing for asylum seekers, are coupled to social policy and sustainability. The idea that philanthropy is not enough but that the funds must be linked to returns and sustainability has come in with a new generation of fund administrators, the FD writes.  More >

One third of packaging can't be recycled

Dutch households spent more in September, year on year About one third of the packaging used in the Netherlands is difficult to recycle and is often contaminated with pvc, even though this has been banned because of the environmental risk, according to researchers at Wageningen University. The continued use of pvc in packaging is one reason why the government decided in 2015 not to scrap the deposit system on plastic bottles after all, despite years of campaigning by the industry and supermarkets. The research was carried out on behalf of the Dutch waste processors and management association NVRD. NVRD chairman Han Noten said in a statement that manufacturers must do more to ensure the packaging they use can be recycled.  'This report shows there is plenty of room for improvement,' he said. 'Contaminants put in at the beginning of the process have to be removed at the end, and that has not changed.'   More >