Ahold and Rabobank, two of the Netherland’s biggest businesses report strong growth indicating an improving Dutch economy after two years of recession. Hayley Platt reports on its progress.
An improving Dutch economy is beginning to pay dividends. At least for Ahold. The Netherlands-based supermarket chain, which trades under the name Albert Heijn, has reported a rise in half year net profit of 33 percent to 195 million euros. Sales also grew 17 percent to just shy of 8.70 billion euros. The company put it down to improving economies in both the U.S, where it operates the Stop & Shop and Giant stores, and the Netherlands. The boost at home continues the trend across the euro zone - particularly in countries like Spain which is emerging from years of economic struggle. Craig Erlam is from Oanda. SOUNDBITE: Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, Oanda, saying (English): "They have undergone these very painful reforms and austerity measures intended to make their economies more competitive and we are now finally starting to see the benefits of that." After two years of recession new economic data from the Netherlands showed households spent more on big purchases, as consumer confidence improved and unemployment fell. The boost helped the country's largest mortgage lender. Rabobank saw a 41 percent rise in half year net profit to just over 1.5 billion euros. A 70 percent fall in provisions for bad loans also helped. The turnaround in the country could also boost help Ahold's bid for its Belgian peer Delhaize. The proposed 25 billion euro deal is on track for mid-2016. It would create one of the biggest food retailers in the US and a major player in Europe.