Royal Dutch Shell announced this morning that it will no longer be Dutch (and therefore no longer royal). We asked financial commentator Martin Visser about the effect on the Netherlands.
“It’s a shame, despite the justified criticism leveled at Shell of course,” says Martin Visser, financial commentator for EenVandaag and journalist at Financial Telegraaf. The move will be presented to the company’s shareholders on December 10, but they are not expected to block it.
According to Visser, the departure is not only about simplifying the corporate structure, as Shell itself says. The oil group is now spread both in the Netherlands and the UK and in the latter country they do not have to pay dividend tax.
“The then prime minister’s attempt to have it rescinded a few years ago failed,” Visser explains. “This is now cited as one of the reasons for the move to London.”
Looting Britain’s exit from the European Union
According to Visser, the fact that Brexit did not detract from this makes it all the more painful. “The hope was, of course, that companies from England would come to the Netherlands and other European countries with dangling legs. The Brexit booty has been very disappointing so far.”
In addition, the sentiment surrounding large companies in the Netherlands is not very positive. “Undoubtedly this also plays a major role. The ease with which, for example, after Budget Day in public reflections in the late afternoon the corporate profit tax was raised briefly to fund all sorts of political desires…it notes that corporations Majors such as Shell were increasingly asking: What are we still doing in the Netherlands if we are no longer wanted here?”
The Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate told Blok today that he is in talks with the Shell Summit on the consequences of proposing jobs, critical investments and sustainability. Visser thinks job losses wouldn’t be so bad.
“They are no longer a driver of jobs, the number of jobs has already fallen significantly in our country due to all the reorganizations. But with this step you will lose the center of decision and Dutch interests will decrease, as will the activity surrounding Shell.”
“Such a large company also acts as a business card and attracts other companies. The fact that we have two of these companies in the Netherlands with Unilever is very special for our relatively small economy. It is unfortunate that we are now also losing Shell and with this also the leverage to move the company in the direction that We desire it.”
According to Visser, the political importance of your multinational company should not be underestimated. “With Shell, we have access to all kinds of areas that we might not be able to access otherwise, including in diplomatic traffic. The CEO of Shell comes in easier than Mark Ratt.”
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