ABN Amro IPO merits discount for ugly structure

November 10, 2015

The Dutch state is hawking up to 23 pct of its erstwhile problem child, valuing the bank at up to 18.8 bln euros. The price range seems attractive relative to listed peers. But a markdown is warranted given an anti-takeover provision that could rescind investors’ voting rights.

New Shell chairman has a tough job on his hands

October 30, 2014

Charles Holliday arrives at the Anglo-Dutch major as oil prices slump towards $85 a barrel. After a dismal 2013, Shell is making good progress. But while Holliday has sound experience at DuPont and Bank of America, he will need to learn the tricks of his new trade quickly.

Nutreco’s $3 bln buyout shows value of food chain

October 20, 2014

The Dutch fish and animal-feed giant is about to be gobbled up in a $3.4 bln friendly deal. The buyer is SHV, the family outfit behind the Makro cash-and-carry chain. With no synergies, this deal is better seen as a long-term bet on growing global demand for protein.

Philips lighting split is a bright idea

June 30, 2014

The Dutch conglomerate is restructuring again, moving high-powered LEDs and car lights into a standalone unit with 1.4 bln euros in sales. The business is fast-growing and would benefit from outside capital. Stepping out of the parent’s shadow should help.

UPS love letter validates TNT’s earlier break-up

February 20, 2012

Long-term suitor UPS made a $6.4 bln proposal to the Dutch courier just before Valentine’s day. For now TNT is being rightly coy. And FedEx may yet disrupt the courtship. But clearly TNT’s break from dowdy domestic mail unit PostNL is achieving the desired effect.

Dutch government felled by austerity boomerang

April 24, 2012

The country’s right-of-centre coalition has collapsed after failing to agree cuts that would reduce the deficit to the euro-wide target of 3 pct of GDP. A temporary budget may avert immediate crisis. But the splintering politics bodes ill for longer-term economic stability.

Carlos Slim may drive KPN to poison

June 6, 2012

The Dutch telecoms group is scrambling to dodge what it sees as a takeover-on-the-cheap from the world’s richest man. It seems to want to do a deal in Germany that’s been talked about for years. But counterpart Telefonica isn’t ready to trade. KPN might resort to poisoned pills.

Dutch politics returns to centre – and Europe

September 13, 2012

After flirting with anti-euro and anti-austerity groups, voters overwhelmingly backed mainstream parties. Fears that a core euro zone state would pick a radical government have receded. But forging a coalition won’t be easy, and fringe voices stand ready to exploit any unease.

Europe brings the pain for UPS and TNT

January 14, 2013

Competition watchdogs are barking again, after killing DB-NYSE last year. A likely EU veto has led the U.S. courier to drop a $7 bln bid for its Dutch peer. TNT’s stock is down 50 pct. If the group’s strategy since its demerger has been to get bought, it needs to think again.

Malone swoop frees Barclays but traps Ziggo

March 28, 2013

Liberty Global has a paper profit of over 40 mln euros after buying 13 pct of Dutch cable company Ziggo from Barclays. It’s typically shrewd of Liberty owner John Malone - Barclays was desperate following a botched share sale. But Ziggo shareholders should have mixed feelings.