The Dutch cabinet intends to encourage investments in sectors where the Netherlands has not yet seized all opportunities. To this end the investment institution Invest-NL is established, with €2.5 billion in capital. Invest-NL offers a single contact centre for entrepreneurs seeking risk capital, guarantees, export credit insurance and international finance programmes. In addition, Invest-NL will develop and, where necessary, co-finance major public projects at home and abroad. With this measure the Netherlands follows in the footsteps of other EU countries with similar investment institutions.
This was declared in a letter to the Lower House on Friday by Ministers Kamp (Economic Affairs), Dijsselbloem (Finance) and Ploumen (Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation).
Minister Kamp: 'Invest-NL is important to Dutch entrepreneurs and businesses. It will facilitate project finance, enable entrepreneurs to receive a guarantee offering investment security, and help businesses to get hold of export credit insurance. By combining these services within a single contact centre, we are offering increased clarity and convenience to entrepreneurs.' The Minister continues: 'Invest-NL also provides additional venture capital and improved access to European financing for starting and expanding businesses. Thanks to Invest-NL there will soon be more money to help more entrepreneurs achieve more.'
Minister Dijsselbloem: 'The Netherlands has overcome a serious economic crisis. This year economic growth will exceed 2 per cent and the budget balance is expected to be restored. It is now paramount to build on this development through sufficient investments in order to consolidate our economy and realise the transition to a sustainable economy. Invest-NL will be of great assistance in this process. This investment bank will enable us to draw out investments in sectors where the Dutch government and Dutch businesses have not yet seized all opportunities.'
Minister Ploumen: 'Huge investments are required in the coming years in order to achieve international climate and development goals. Dutch businesses possess the knowledge and expertise required to assist other countries in this transition. Yet all too often they fail to obtain financing for promising foreign projects, especially in developing countries. With the aid of Invest-NL we will help businesses develop the right projects and attract funds. This will ensure that we create more jobs at home and encourage more sustainable development abroad.'
Up to this point many businesses and projects struggle to acquire financing due to uncertainty about the trade-off between risk and return or the long, uncertain payback periods of investments. Invest-NL will remedy this through a combination of existing financing instruments and a €2.5 billion capital contribution. This will also provide leverage, in the form of increased financing from institutional investors and European funds and programmes.
Invest-NL will first and foremost play a role in high-risk activities within various transition areas. Examples include energy (such as geothermal energy and charging points for electric cars), greening, mobility, food and the digitisation of industry. Public sectors such as health care, security and education also come within the purview of Invest-NL.
The institution will also assist start-ups and scale-ups: innovative businesses that are still setting up or have just begun expanding their activities and require capital for further growth. Invest-NL is able to supply venture capital, for instance by acquiring an interest in a fund with investments in such businesses. Direct participation in expanding businesses is also an option for Invest-NL.
A third activity of Invest-NL is to support the international operations of Dutch businesses when it comes to export and foreign investments, especially by contributing solutions to global issues. To this end the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) will enter into a joint venture with Invest-NL. Export credit insurer Atradius Dutch State Business will also associate with Invest-NL.
Invest-NL supplements the activities of banks and pension funds and can provide risk capital to enterprises if necessary. Invest-NL is to be a state-owned enterprise under private law. The State will be the sole shareholder, contributing annual capital into Invest-NL up to an amount of €2.5 billion from 2017 onwards. The cabinet will flesh out the proposal for Invest-NL in the next few months and intends to have the institution operational by the beginning of 2018. The proposed establishment of Invest-NL satisfies a commitment entered into by the cabinet on Budget Day.