Netherlands

The municipality of Amsterdam is introducing a pause button for people with problematic debts, AlKhaleej Today reported. This measure prevents them from receiving direct debits and reminders until a payment process has been found with the help of a debt counselor. Amsterdam hopes with this measure to offer peace of mind to people who are in debt. “Debts lead to a lot of stress. People in debt lose their jobs more often and often have more relationship stress. Financial problems can even lead to a decrease in IQ”, says Alderman Marjolein Moorman.

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KLM, the Dutch arm of airline group Air France-KLM, will likely have to cut more jobs than the thousands of layoffs already announced due to the coronavirus pandemic, its chief executive Pieter Elbers said in a message to his staff, Reuters reported. Elbers warned that COVID-19 will limit flights more extensively than the 20-25% drop it had anticipated for next year. “We now expect even lower production, which ultimately means we need fewer people”, Elbers said in his message, seen by Reuters.

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The district court of Amsterdam on September 18, 2020 under a claim of Sberbank of Russia against DTEK Energy B.V. ordered to pay around $45.1 million and to take interim measures in respect of certain assets of DTEK Energy B.V. in the Netherlands, The Interfax-Ukraine News Agency reported. DTEK Energy said that these actions have no impact on the company's day-to-day operations of coal mining and electricity generation, the company is in dialogue with creditors on terms of the long-term loan restructuring.

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Dutch retailer Hema filed for Chapter 15 court protection in the U.S. in the latest step of a debt restructuring as the popular local firm prepares for its sale, Bloomberg News reported. Chapter 15 shields foreign companies from lawsuits by U.S. creditors while they reorganize in another country. The filing came late Wednesday, the same day that Hema’s restructuring plan received support from the vast majority of its senior-ranking bondholders in a U.K. court process.

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Payments processor Adyen NV reported slower earnings growth on Thursday, as transactions at online retailers increased but travel industry customers payments fell due to the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported. A spokesman said the Dutch company, which handles customer payments for the likes of Uber, Facebook and Netflix, had gained new customers after the June collapse of German rival Wirecard, but the impact on revenue and earnings was negligible.

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The Dutch economy looks set for a less dramatic fall in 2020 than previously expected, economic policy adviser CPB said on Monday, Reuters reported. The euro zone’s fifth-largest economy is expected to shrink 5.1% this year because of the coronavirus crisis, the CPB said, before rebounding with growth of 3.2% in 2021. This year’s recession would still be the worst on record, but it would be less deep than the 6.4% contraction the CPB forecast in June. “This is still an unprecedented blow,” CPB Director Pieter Hasekamp said.

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Dutch bank ABN Amro said it would slash the size of its corporate and investment banking business after a series of high-profile losses highlighted excessive risk-taking in the division and exacerbated the impact of coronavirus, the Financial Times reported. The state-backed bank on Wednesday said it would wind down all of its non-European corporate banking operations and stop providing trade and commodity finance, following a review led by Robert Swaak, the new chief executive.

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ING, the Netherlands’ largest bank, has become the latest major European lender to report a rising impact from coronavirus-induced loan defaults, driving its second-quarter profits down 79 per cent, the Financial Times reported. The Amsterdam-based lender, which runs retail banks in more than a dozen countries, set aside an additional €1.3bn to deal with expected future defaults, following on from a €661m provision in the first quarter.

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Dutch retailer Hema’s senior secured noteholders (SSNs) are set to take over the business through a debt-for-equity swap, as more than 80% of noteholders agreed to a debt restructuring, banking sources said, Reuters reported. On June 15 the company entered lock-up, as 100% of its RCF lenders and 62% of its €600m, 2022 SSNs agreed to the restructuring. However, a threshold of 75% of SSN support was needed before the deal could be implemented. Around 80% of SSNs now support the deal, meaning it can go ahead, one of the sources said.

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Seeking to explain the appeal of Dutch retailer Hema’s brand to consumers outside the Netherlands, CEO Tjeerd Jegen compares it to a mix of Marks and Spencer Group Plc and John Lewis, “on steroids”. But just as the British stores have faced their own financial difficulties of late, so Hema has had its own problems, starting with an oversized debt pile, Bloomberg News reported. And this week’s restructuring plan -- which will cut its liabilities from 750 million euros ($842 million) to 300 million -- still raises questions over its future ownership.

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