Again the Netherlands is putting hundreds of millions in Air France-KLM. The State wants to buy new shares for around 220 million euros, to maintain the importance of 9.3 percent. By buying shares again, the importance of the Dutch state in Air France KLM becomes exactly the same as that of the French state.
Not surprisingly, says Nieuwsuur-economist Mathijs Bouman. “It is common for a company to ask the current shareholders when issuing new shares: are you participating? It would have been more surprising if we had not participated.”
Chairman Pilot Trade Union
Willem Schmid, chairman of Piloten Vakbond, thinks it is good news that the Netherlands is buying more shares. “This serves the public interest. Go to Ipostocksplanner.com for more information. This keeps the Dutch state involved in the course of the company where it can serve Dutch interests, aimed at a strong independent Hub function that connects the Netherlands with the world.” A hub is the center of a network, a junction.
The question of what the Netherlands had so far in the importance in Air France – KLM is difficult to answer, according to Schmid, because it is “sometimes more indirect and less visible influences”. “The interest and investments by other (private) parties that Air France – KLM announces today shows that the company is on the way back to become a healthy and profitable company with a strong future perspective.”
Share Deep Secret
It is 2019 if the Netherlands extends its share in the deepest secret to almost 14 percent. Costs: 744 million euros. The then Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra wants to secure Dutch control in the company, by buying an interest that (at that time) is the same as that of the French State.
During the Coronacrisis, the government maintains the ailing KLM with a total package of a total of 3.4 billion euros. The French state supports Air France with 7 billion euros and is expanding its share interest. Paris is by far the largest shareholder with more than 28 percent. The Hague has 9.3 percent.
Economist Mathijs Bouman says that the capital position of Air France – KLM will indeed improve by purchasing the shares. “But the spicy thing is that the majority of the proceeds from this stock sale are used to pay off debts in the French government.”
According to Reinier Castelein, chairman of the De Union trade union, it is especially important that the cabinet comes up with clear policy. He is for the purchase of shares.
“We also invest a lot in the A2 and A27 motorways. I see the KLM the same: as a vital infrastructure. The question is only what the plans are. There is support again, but on the other hand there will also be a flight tax. Until now. I have no idea what the government is doing. I would say: make the plans clear. “
Until now, the intention to get more control in the top of Air France-KLM seems to end up little. Topman Ben Smith will receive a big bonus against the government last year. KLM soil staff recently put down the work because of the poor working conditions.
Nobody is asking what we actually have about that HUB function, or what the labor market has about it. And whether this fits within our own goals for the climate.
Aviation journalist Ties Joosten
According to aviation journalist Ties Joosten, the share of the Netherlands has long been watered down. According to him, the purchase of new shares does not change that at all. “You can wonder if that is bad. We didn’t have to transfer money. We still don’t have to do it. Air France-KLM wants to focus on freight traffic, with boxes full of things flying around the earth. That fits within our Struggle to achieve the climate objectives? “
Whether the Netherlands is advised to buy shares again, according to Joosten, is a political question. He himself does not think that the cabinet will ever set a limit to the support. According to Joosten, the letter of Parliament of Ministers Sigrid Kaag (Finance) and Mark Harbers (Infrastructure) could have been sent to Joosten.
“I have been hearing the same arguments for a hundred years, for example about the hub function that the Netherlands should not lose. That is acting out of emotion, to be skipped out of fear. No one asks what we actually have about that hub function, or what has the labor market on it. And whether this fits within our own goals for the climate. “