force prices up. Of late, however, many Swedish investors and financiers have been preoccupied with problems in their home market, which has dampe ned their enthusiasm for Dutch real estate. The fact that some of these investors are now trying to dis pose of parts of their property portfolios is likely to depress prices in the coming period. Market conditions have also been made more difficult by the current high level of interest rates. The significant rise in political tension in the second half of 1990, coupled with general economic uncer tainty, increased the upward pressure on rates. Although interest rates have fallen slightly in the first months of 1991, they are still at historically high levels in real terms, which is tending to rein in demand. Current government planning policy is also adding to the level of uncertainty in the commercial property market in the Netherlands. The recent publication of an addendum to the Fourth Policy Document on Physical Planning (VINEX), in which the government has set out guidelines for allocating locations for industrial and office property in the Netherlands, has come in for considerable criticism. i Although the government’s attempt to define such policies is to be welcomed, it is unlikely that these initiatives will lead to the creation of prime business locations comparable to those found in London, Paris, Frankfurt, New York and Tokyo. A prerequisite for such locations is a stock of at least one million square meters, which explains why these centers are able to attract top international companies that are prepared to pay up to ten times the rents normally charged in the Netherlands. In contrast, the top locations in the Netherlands are much smaller than their international counterparts, typically with no more than a few hundred thousand square meters of business space. A further disadvantage of some of these locations is that they are remote from the major commercial centers. One of the central themes of the government’s new policy initiative, published in November 1990, is the desire to promote greater use of public transportation systems for travel to and from work and at the same time to limit the use of automobiles. In addition, the three major cities - Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague - have been accorded a special status in an attempt to improve their appeal to international companies. The absence of Utrecht from this fist is seen by many as a serious omission, in view of its position in the center of the country. I The government’s plan envisages that compa nies which have substantial numbers of employees and frequent visitors, but that do not require direct access to the national highway network, should have their premises situated close to public transportation terminals and not along expressways. All such locations are to be designated as Category A sites and are to be distinguished from Category B locations, which offer a reduced choice of mass transit provisions. Category B locations are to be earmarked for firms with correspondingly fewer employees that are likely to make slightly less use of public transportation systems. In contrast, sites directly accessible from expressways (Category C locations) are to be reserved for much smaller companies that are heavily dependent on auto mobiles and commercial vehicles for business trans portation. The government’s policy on business locations aims on the one hand, to promote greater use of urban mass transit systems, whereas on the other hand, restricting automobile use by limiting parking provisions. Whilst the Executive Board of FGH BANK welcomes the government’s efforts to enhance the international appeal of Dutch business locations by focusing more attention on the major commercial centers, the Board is unhappy with the policy docu ment in its present form. It feels that the current policy document is too 9 REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

Rabobank Bronnenarchief

Annual Reports FGH Bank | 1990 | | pagina 11