Dutch Companies Strongly Defended against Predators
THE HAGUE, 16/10/13 - Most big Dutch companies still have protective walls in place against foreign predators, it emerges from a study by De Volkskrant of the largest bourse-listed companies.
At 17 of the 25 AEX index companies, a friendly foundation can create a protective wall with which it will at one blow hold the majority of the shares. As a result, the say is taken over and the predator has little more to say. The eight other companies do not have such a foundation but they can defend themselves by other methods.
Warding off damage from hostile takeovers is in the news now that KPN is being besieged by América Movil. Additionally, the international takeover engine is beginning to rev up again, as a result of which more Dutch companies could catch the eye of foreign players.
For KPN, the Preferential Shares B Foundation came into action, doubling the number of shares. The nearly 30 percent stake built up by América Movil was halved by the poison pill to 15 percent. The Foundation is now temporarily running the show, with 50 percent of the shares.
Sixteen other companies in the AEX index also have the option of calling on the aid of such a foundation. ING also has an extra line of defence in the form of an administrative office that can if necessary issue shares. Soil researcher Fugro actually has three such lines..
Nearly 10 years ago, Brussels wanted to get rid of the protective constructions, because these were not felt to fit in with a flexibly operating acquisitions market. But the Netherlands made use of its opt-out in2007, as a result of which the constructions are still allowed.