Wednesday 26 February 2020

Dutch government launches €1.7bn investment fund

Wouter Bos. Photo: Roel Wijnants [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

The Dutch government on Thursday officially launched a new investment fund which, officials say, will make it easier for Dutch companies to attract European investors.

Invest-NL, headed by former Labour finance minister Wouter Bos, will get €1.7bn in funding from the government, spread over five years. The state will remain Invest-NL’s only shareholder.

The money will be used as risk capital in the form of loans or shareholdings rather than subsidies to start-ups, scale-ups, innovative projects and exporters. France and Germany already have similar funds.

Invest-NL will focus on the Netherlands only, with an emphasis on innovation and sustainability – particularly the transition to a gas-free economy. The threshold for investment will be €5m, of which Invest-NL will contribute a maximum of 50%.

The idea of the fund was first launched in 2016 and has been criticised by both the Council of State and the national audit office. In particular, the audit office warned about the lack of parliamentary control over the fund. The fund will be a private entity and operate at arms length to the state.

The Netherlands already has some 30 different investment funds – mostly regional and local – managing €3.6bn of taxpayers funds.

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