Explosion at Tata Steel plant in IJmuiden injures four

Four people have been injured in an explosion at Tata Steel in Velsen-Noord on Wednesday morning, the company said. The workers, who were doing maintenance work at the coke and gas plant at the complex, have been taken to hospital but nothing has been said about the extent of their injuries. No leaks took place, Tata Steel said, and production is continuing as normal. NH Nieuws said it received phone calls from worried locals who has heard a loud bang around 11.15am which ‘shook the ground’.  More >

Ivanka Trump to attend business summit

Ivanka Trump is expected to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in The Hague on June 4 and 5, according to ‘reliable sources’ cited by public broadcaster NOS. It is the first time the conference, a gathering of international top business people, will have been held in Europe. Over a thousand companies will be represented in The Hague in what has been described by foreign affairs minister Sigrid Kaag ‘a big trade mission only the other way round’. It is not clear whether president Donald Trump will put in an appearance. At the last summit, in India, he also sent his daughter. The summit is a joint effort by the Dutch and the American foreign affairs departments. Topics will include innovative solutions for problems related to food, water, energy, health and connectivity. Dutch companies including Philips, APG, DSM, Ahold, Unilever and Rabobank will also be taking part.   More >

No progress on Schiphol US passport checks

Talks between the Netherlands and the US on introducing passport controls at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport continue to proceed 'with difficulty', US ambassador Pete Hoekstra has told the Telegraaf. 'The process is slow and we are at the point where I have to ask myself "yes or no",' Hoekstra is quoted as saying. 'If the answer is "no", that's fine, just say it. The we can put our energy elsewhere. There are enough other European countries which are interested.' Talks on introducing passport checks by US officials at Schiphol have been ongoing since December 2016 but were first mooted in 2015. Earlier this month, the American Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands wrote to the Dutch government, urging progress on the pre-clearance system. In particular Amcham urged the Dutch government to focus on the realisation of 'this important facility' at Schiphol 'to prevent the US government implementing their available sources in other countries than the Netherlands'. Without pre-clearance, Schiphol risks losing its leading position as a gateway to the US, the Telegraaf said.  More >

More backing for climate change plans

The Dutch have become more open to the government's plans to tackle climate change since the decision to include a carbon tax for heavy industry in the package, according to a survey by I&O Research on behalf of the AD. Some 33% now say they are positive about the government's strategy, compared with 25% three weeks ago, before the u-turn on a carbon tax. Some 27% are now negative about the plans, down from 33% during the first survey, the AD said. 'Most voters would appear to value the fact that the prime minister has shown leadership,' spokesman Peter Kanne told the paper. Some 76% of those polled said they welcomed the decision to include the tax on polluting industries and 73% are pleased the tax on energy is to be reduced. Earlier this month the government said it would cut energy taxes for private households and bring in some form of carbon tax for heavy industry. The concessions followed the publication of two reports on the cabinet’s climate plans which said consumers would pick up most of the bill for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  More >

Coolcat is latest high street bankruptcy

Teenage fashion chain Coolcat with 80 stores in the Netherlands, has gone bust, the Financieele Dagblad said on Monday. The 25 stores in Belgium, France and Luxembourg are not affected by the bankruptcy and the shops in the Netherlands will remain open for the time being, the paper said. Coolcat was launched 40 years ago by retail entrepreneur Roland Kahn, who also owns the MS Mode and America Today brands. The FD said Coolcat has been loss making since 2015 and had been struggling against competition from the likes of Primark and Zara. The company said the long, hot summer of 2018 and the mild winter had led to a sharp drop in sales and that it could no longer meet its financial obligations.  More >

Adyen, IMCD move into Dutch blue chip AEX

As expected payment processor Adyen and chemicals trading group IMCD have moved into the Dutch blue chip AEX index, replacing cable firm Altice and the former Philips lighting division Signify. The AEX is made up of 25 shares issued by the highest ranking companies in terms of free float market capitalisation. Adyen, which said last month it had booked net profit of €83m in the second half of 2018, a rise of 90% on the year earlier period,  has seen its share price rise nearly 39% this year. It rose 1.35% on Monday in early trading. New in the Midkap index is fitness chain Basic Fit, which takes over the place occupied by food wholesale group Sligro. Sligro’s demotion to the Smallcap index means window coverings group Hunter Douglas is now out of the indices altogether.  More >

Food group Wessanen in takeover talks

A French consortium has made an offer for Dutch natural foods company Wessanen, the Amsterdam-listed company said on Thursday evening. The consortium, managed by PAI Partners SAS, has offered €11.50 per share for all Wessanen's shares - a revised offer from one first made in February, the Wessanen statement said. 'After careful review and consideration' Wessanen's two boards have 'concluded that this proposal warranted engaging with the consortium to explore the feasibility and merits of the potential transaction'. However, there can be no assurance any transaction will materialise from these discussions, Wessanen said. PAI Partners is working together with American investor Charlie Jobson, who has been a shareholder in Wessanen since 2009 and currently has a stake of nearly 26%. Wessanen, which focuses on organic and whole foods and includes Whole Earth and Zonnatura among its brands, booked sales of €628m last year, a rise of 0.6% on 2017. News of the takeover bid boosted Wessanen shares in Amsterdam on Friday. They rose 18% tot €11.71 in early trading.  More >

Energy taxes can't be cut this year

The tax office is not in a position to cut energy taxes this year, despite government pledges that they will go down, economic affairs minister Eric Wiebes told MPs on Thursday evening. Earlier this week the government said it would cut energy taxes for private households and bring in some form of carbon tax for heavy industry. The concessions followed the publication of two reports on the cabinet's climate plans which said consumers would pick up most of the bill for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. MPs debated the reports' findings on Thursday evening and the government came under heavy fire to make clear what it plans to do to restore the balance. Opposition parties, including GroenLinks and the Socialists, criticised the cabinet for saying it would cut taxes just six days before crucial elections without being able to actually do so. 'It would only be decent... to give more clarity rather than just make vague promises,' SP leader Lilian Marijnissen said. Energy bills for the average household have risen some €30 a month this year, following higher charges for gas and higher taxes. Ministers have said they will publish their proposals to cut both energy bills and bring in a carbon tax at the end of April.  More >