Philips to sell off its lighting division via Amsterdam IPO

Two men killed as crane platform plunges to the ground

Philips is to launch its lighting division on the Amsterdam stock exchange, completing its transition to a medical technology firm. The company is to sell 25% of the shares to institutional and private investors and will divest the rest in the coming years. Philips Lighting, based in Eindhoven, booked sales of €7.5bn last year. The company will remain under the leadership of Eric Rondolat and will keep the current logo, Philips said in a statement. Philips chief executive Frans van Houten described the decision to float the company as 'historic'. 'We believe Philips Lighting can strengthen its position as market leader as a stock exchange listed company,' he said. No date for the IPO has yet been set. 'At the moment we cannot be specific about timing. The offering and listing, and their timing, are subject to, among other factors, market conditions,' the company said on its website. Philips began operations as a maker of light bulbs in 1891. In recent years, the company has focused on led lighting.  More >

Dutch jets rarely see action over Syria

Two men killed as crane platform plunges to the ground Dutch F-16 fighter jets are rarely in action over Syria because they don't have the proper communications equipment, the Nederlands Dagblad said on Tuesday. The Dutch F-16s are equipped with radios rather than satellite communications which means they are reliant on ground troops. However, there are very few soldiers in Syria itself, the paper said. This means, the US has rarely called on the Dutch jets in its bombing campaign, a fact brought home to MPs during a visit to Jordan last week. VVD parliamentarian Han ten Broeke told the ND he was 'somewhat embarrassed' about the situation and that he and other MPs have asked defence minister Jeanine Hennis for an explanation. The cabinet decided in January to extend the Dutch mission in the region to cover Syria until July 1, at least, partly at the behest of the US. The defence ministry said in a statement later on Tuesday that Dutch jets are not limited in their role in Syria but said Dutch air support is not often needed. Labour MP Michiel Servaes told broadcaster NOS the ministry's statement is 'fishy'. 'We've just had a debate about Syria. Why were we not told this?' he said. 'And was the ministry aware of the situation?'  More >

Wind turbine plans threaten space research

Wind turbine development threatens space research A plan to build fifty giant wind turbines in the province of Drenthe may interfere with the operation of a radio telescope and do ‘disastrous’ damage to scientific research, according to the Dutch Institute for Radio Astronomy (Astron). Astronomers claim that the placement of the 200 metre high windmills will interfere with the low-frequency array (Lofar) which uses thousands of low-frequency antennae to survey the universe. Because of their height, the windmills reflect other radio and television signals towards the Lofar station. ‘For some of our astronomical applications, this will be pretty devastating,’ Astron’s director professor Michael Garrett told ‘It seems a bit strange to have built the world’s premier low frequency radio telescope in the world, and now to put all that in jeopardy.’ Investigation Minister for economic affairs Henk Kamp has a year to decide whether to continue with the project. The plan has already been criticized by local residents and municipalities. The Dutch telecom agency is currently looking into whether windmills interfere with radio telescope operation in Drenthe. Minister Kamp gave the project the go-ahead based on a study by a British company, which found that the operation of the telescope would not suffer if windmills were placed nearby. However, Astron argues that the British researchers didn’t have sufficient knowledge to make that claim. ‘It was a very poor report, and they didn’t really understand the concept of radio telescopes and radio interference,’ Garrett told ‘They were out of their depth when it came to this analysis.’ Safe distance Astronomers at the Lofar site would prefer if the windmills were at least 15km away from the telescope. The current plan would see seven of the fifty turbines placed within a 15km radius of the Lofar site. ‘It might not sound like too much of a difference, but going from a few kilometres to fifteen really makes a big difference when it comes to the strength of the reflected signals,’ said Garrett. ‘I think common sense will prevail,’ he said. ‘But at some point we have to protest publicly.’  More >

Sunny weather set to continue

Two men killed as crane platform plunges to the ground Hay fever sufferers are being warned to be well prepared over the next few days because the amount of grass pollen in the atmosphere is set to soar. The silver birch pollen season is now almost over but grass pollen, which causes most problems for hay fever sufferers, is now poised to take over, according to website In addition, easterly winds will bring in more pollen from Germany, broadcaster NOS said. The weather is expected to remain dry and sunny for the next few days, with the temperature rising to the low 20s at the weekend.  More >

Ecstasy is getting stronger: test results

Two men killed as crane platform plunges to the ground The amount of active ingredients in ecstasy pills in the Netherlands has almost doubled in 10 years, according to the Trimbos addiction institute, which runs a nationwide testing service. In 2005, there was an average of 81 mg of MDMA in a pill but last year that had gone up to 150 mg, according to the institute's 2015 monitoring report. The highest concentration of MDMA recorded last year was 293 mg. In total, Trimbos researchers were asked to test 12,000 drug samples last year, of which some 60% were ecstasy. Some 13% of the samples involved cocaine and 9% amphetamines. Trimbos says the price of drugs has remained relatively stable. An ecstasy pill costs around €4 while cocaine is €50 per gramme.   More >