Booking.com claims Dutch Pandemy Subsidy

Dutch origin

As a graduate from Twente University Geert-Jan Bruinsma founded the company as Bookings.nl in Amsterdam in 1996. It has since grown into a multinational with a turnover of 8.5 billion euros and a stock exchange listing in New York City. It employs more than 17,000 people in 198 offices in seventy countries. In Amsterdam, more than 5,500 people work from no fewer than twelve offices; about three-quarters of them are expats. In 2017 Booking.com recorded a net profit of 2.9 billion euros. That is considerably more than other Dutch big companies such as Heineken, Philips and Akzo Nobel.  Every day, the company processes some 1.5 million hotel bookings around the world. For each booking, the hotel owner pays an average commission of between 12 and 18 percent to Booking. The company earns so much money that the former Dutch CEO Mrs Tans quietly grew into one of the highest paid CEOs in the Netherlands.

Mrs Tans has been “promoted” to a fully paid but unclear job in which she works from home. She is succeeded as CEO by a certain Mr Felon who has been parachuted by the current parent company (Fomerly Priceline, recently renamed into Booking Holding…). Mr Felon has an annual salary of approximately 20 million Euro.

Dutch papers bring stories that the company earns so much money that they even hire people simply for the reason of hiring people only. They start with not doing anything. The whole infrastructure of its money generating sites is coded in Perl, which according to current tech guys is a completely outdated scripting language, but Booking cannot afford to change its software for a more modern language….

Dutch tax holiday

According to Quote:

There’s another reason Booking is so loyal to our capital. By remaining in the Netherlands, the company can benefit from a particularly favorable tax regime. In recent years, Booking has concluded a number of successive tax rulings with the Dutch government, according to annual reports of its parent company. The most recent ruling, from September 2017, stipulates that Booking may share “part of the income” under the so-called “Innovation box”.

This is an arrangement that has existed since 2010 and is intended to allow companies to invest more in technological innovation. On the income in this box, companies do not pay 25, but only 7 percent profit tax (up to March 2018 it was even 5 percent). The annual report published by parent company Booking Holdings in February shows that the tax benefit for Booking is enormous. In 2018 alone, the company received a tax discount of $ 435 million in the Netherlands, or about $ 385 million. Thanks to this bait from the state, not only will Booking’s headquarters remain in the Netherlands, but all income generated worldwide by the company will immediately flow to the Netherlands before being taxed elsewhere. “In fact, Booking does the same as for example Nike,” according to Dutch Member of Parliament Paul Tang:  “At Nike, it also seems as if the Hilversum office sells an incredible amount of tracksuits and sneakers all over the world. The point is to achieve as much revenue as possible in the Netherlands. “In this way, Booking has received a tax discount of more than $ 2 billion from 2010 to 2018 thanks to the Innovation Box, according to the annual reports of the parent company. Converted, Booking received almost 1.8 billion euros from the tax authorities as a gift.

Abroad, this tax arrangement now creates anger. Australian Michael Hibbins, who worked for Shell for many years, recently calculated in a blog that Booking in his country evaded between $ 100 and 200 million by diverting Australian income tax-free to the Netherlands, where they were taxed only to a limited extent thanks to the Innovation Box. “The (Dutch, ed.) Government has levied a 5 percent tax on income that should have been declared in other countries. By doing this, the Netherlands has shown itself to be nothing better than well-known tax havens such as Singapore and the Bahamas. “In Hibbins view, Booking, together with the Dutch government,” manipulated the system to actually create the benefit of a tax haven. “

The Pandemy

The pandemy hits Booking hard. In March its turnover was down to 15 % of the March 2019 turnover. It hase huge debts because of its recent purchases of its own shares. A perverse method to keep the share price artificially high in order to maintain the top’s huge bonusses.

In order to keep the economy a bit working Dutch Government will subsidize 90 % of wages for a couple of months provided there will be no lay offs of personell.

In a recent zoom meeting with personell in Amsterdam, Mr Fogel who himself has had the Covid 19 virus announced that Booking will apply for that subsidy.

One can imagine that there are several Dutch who try to prevent Dutch Government to grant this subsidy, especcially as the shareholders have taken billions of dollars as dividends from this mega earner recently……

Maybe Dutch Government has to adhere to its own rules with regard to the Pandemy Sunsidy, but I believe  the Dutch Tax authourities should look into the issue of the company rightfully claimed the Innovation Box tax rebate…..why not treat them in the same way as the Dutch tax authorities treated the parents who they believed wrongfully claimed childcare tax rebates???

Sir Stirling Moss died at 90


Sir Stirling Moss, born 17 September 1929 died 12 April 2020 at age 90

An Obituary in the Guardian discribes his greatest victory in my opinion:

In 1955 Moss won the Mille Miglia, the gruelling time trial around 1,000 miles of Italian public roads, in a Mercedes 300SLR sports car (see photo of the 2019 Mille Miglia Rally Edition). During two reconnaissance runs his co-driver, the journalist Denis Jenkinson, prepared a set of pace notes that were inscribed on a roll of paper, held on a spindle inside a small aluminium box. As they charged from Brescia to Rome and back, Jenkinson scrolled through the notes and shouted instructions to the driver. They completed the course in 10 hours and seven minutes, at an average speed of 97.95mph – a record that stands in perpetuity, since the race was abandoned after several spectators were killed two years later.

After my retirement as a hotelier I’ve fallen in love with The Marche region in Italy. The Mille Miglia rally edition passes through The Marche annually in May (albeit it has been postponed until Oktober this year because of the pandemic). Three times thusfar I’ve photographed a day of passing the historic cars. I love it!

I wrote about the 1955 race of Mr Moss already in 2018

Happy Easter!

Re using some old photo’s.
Curious if you can pinpoint the year of first use.
In these dire corona times we need some fun of an Easter Bunny inducing the little one to take a bubbly sip…


With as result the chicks can sleep through the rest of the day!

Old News: Marriott Acquired Starwood

I must have been under the rocks not noting one of the biggest mergers in Hotel History – 4 years ago – whereby Marriott Acquired Starwood for 0.8 of its own shares and $21,- in cash per starwood share.
and

became

 

From the Marriott press release:

At closing {ed: Mid 2016} Starwood stockholders will receive 0.8 shares of Marriott common stock plus $21.00 in cash for each share of Starwood common stock.

As previously announced, the parties have cleared the pre-merger antitrust review in the United States and Canada and multiple other jurisdictions. The transaction remains on track to close mid-2016 pending completion of Starwood’s planned divestiture of its timeshare business expected on or around April 30, 2016, obtaining remaining regulatory approvals, including in the European Union and China, and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

Lazard and Citigroup are serving as financial advisors to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Deutsche Bank Securities is the financial advisor to Marriott International. Cravath, Swaine & Moore is serving as legal counsel to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is serving as legal counsel to Marriott International on the transaction.

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with nearly 1,300 properties in approximately 100 countries and approximately 188,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences under the renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®,Tribute Portfolio™, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, Element®, along with an expanded partnership with Design Hotels™. The company also boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG®).

Dogs are Welcome!

A friend posted this memo on FB. Origin The Nutters Club NZ:

Dogs are welcome in this hotel!
We never had a dog that smoked in bed and set a fire to the blankets.
We never had a dog that stole our towels and played the T.V too loud or had a noisy fight with his travel companion.
We never had a dog that got drunk and broke up the furniture…
So if your dog can vouch for you, you’re welcome too!