Industry Update
External Article27 April 2020’s Call for Help Draws Dutch Outcry, Policy Rethink

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The Dutch government plans to tighten the rules for businesses claiming coronavirus relief after one of the nation's most successful tech companies was accused of seeking state aid while paying billions of dollars to shareholders.

Global travel site drew an outcry from politicians and the media after Chief Executive Officer Glen Fogel told newspaper De Volkskrant on April 15 that it was applying for government help, and that layoffs are still likely. The company has around 5,500 employees in the Netherlands.

"Profit machine raises its hand for state aid," wrote financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad. Evening paper NRC Handelsblad called the request "the dark side of the business climate." Much of the criticism focused on its use of tax planning and past payouts to investors. Parent company Booking Holdings Inc. has bought back $16 billion worth of stock over the past three years, according to its financial statements.

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