press releases https://www.rabobank.com/DotCom/Corporate/en/press/rss.html press releases en <![CDATA[Rabobank posts EUR 1,516 million net profit in first half of 2017]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/press-release-interim-results-2017.html?utm_medium=RSS Rabobank posted a net profit of EUR 1,516 million in the first half of 2017 (+52%). The common equity tier 1 ratio increased strongly from 13.5% to 14.7% (fully loaded), due partly to the issuance of Rabobank Certificates. The increase in net profit was underpinned by favourable economic conditions in the Netherlands, which contributed to extremely low loan impairment charges. On balance, the latter item was negative. The underlying operating profit before tax rose by 12% to EUR 2,276 million. The progress of the transition is tangible across all parts of Rabobank.

“The progress on our three strategic priorities demonstrates that our transition is impacting all parts of Rabobank. We are seeing customer satisfaction trending upwards, improved financial results and further balance sheet optimisation. However, we are not there yet: we need to do a lot more to keep pace with the rapid changes around us. We are now shaping the next phase of our own change agenda with even more emphasis on far-reaching digitisation and innovation. Our employees are crucial to effecting these changes and we greatly appreciate their hard work and professionalism.”

“Our customers are expressing ever-growing satisfaction with our service provision. In the Netherlands, we are seeing this trend mainly with retail customers and entrepreneurs. This reflects the hard work of our employees and the success of our focus on digitisation, innovation and sustainability. Very recently Rabobank announced that it will support Dutch poultry farmers who are affected by the use of a toxic insecticide on laying hens. Businesses which are essentially healthy can count on Rabobank to work with the poultry farmers to come up with solutions appropriate to their individual situation to prevent financial difficulties. In the first half of 2017, we were also involved in a number of major transactions for customers in food & agriculture. On 1 September, our new top management structure will come into operation . The bank will then be run by a Managing Board of ten members. The explicit representation of all key customer segments, digitisation and HR talent development in the Managing Board will give a vital boost to the Rabobank transition in all areas.”

“Net profit grew by 52% to EUR 1,516 million. The return on invested capital rose from 5.4% to 7.8%. Thanks to the favourable economic conditions in the Netherlands, loan impairment charges were extremely low. On balance, this item was EUR 67 million negative. The low interest rate on savings and the housing market dynamics in the Netherlands once again generated high levels of early mortgage repayments in the first half of 2017 (EUR 8.3 billion). Despite this development, net interest income increased by 2%, attributable in part to growth in the international businesses; net fee and commission income also rose. Adjusted for currency effects, the private sector loan portfolio declined by EUR 1.8 billion to EUR 417.8 billion in the first half of 2017. This was mainly due to our bringing down the non-core part of our commercial real estate loan portfolio and a rise in early mortgage repayments. The market share in mortgages remained steady at 20.5% (3% with Obvion). The inflow of savings from retail and private banking customers in the Netherlands caused private savings to grow by EUR 3.2 billion. Total deposits from customers were EUR 343.2 billion, down by EUR 4.5 billion on the level at year-end 2016 as a result of lower balances from corporate customers, which are by nature more volatile than private savings, and due to currency effects. The cost/income ratio improved to 67.6%, due to stable income development and cost reductions achieved through the efficiency measures in our restructuring programme. These measures were also reflected in a fall in the number of employees. In the first half of 2017, total staff level (including external employees) fell by 869 to 44,698 FTEs. Most of the efficiency measures planned for this year will take effect in the second half of 2017, with further job losses as a result.”

“The underlying operating profit before tax amounted to EUR 2,276 million (+12%). The calculation of underlying profit includes an adjustment for the fair value items (hedge accounting and structured notes), restructuring costs, the extra provision made in 2016 for compensating commercial customers with an interest rate derivatives contract, and for Athlon's income and expenses. Athlon was sold at the end of 2016.”

“Rabobank further optimised its balance sheet and strengthened its capital position in the first half of 2017. The fully loaded common equity tier 1 ratio was 14.7% (13.5%) on 30 June 2017. The transitional common equity tier 1 ratio increased to 15.0 % (14.0%). The total capital ratio was 25.5% (25.0%). This means that Rabobank has already achieved the capital targets we set ourselves for 2020, which we consider appropriate considering the uncertainty surrounding future capital requirements (Basel IV). The issuance of Rabobank Certificates in January 2017 added EUR 1.6 billion to the common tier 1 equity, with a rise in the common equity tier 1 ratio of around 80 basis points as a result. The capital ratios also benefited from the retained earnings and the reduction in risk-weighted assets. In the first half of 2017, the risk-weighted assets fell by EUR 3.6 billion to EUR 207.6 billion. In the context of strengthening and optimising the balance sheet, Rabobank conducted a transaction after the reporting date to further reduce the risk weighted assets by almost EUR 1 billion. This transaction involved transferring the risk of part of the corporate loan portfolio to a third party.’’

“For the first time in its history, Rabobank issued EUR 2.5 billion in covered bonds in May 2017. In future years, we will be able to issue covered bonds up to a total of EUR 25 billion, with a view to optimising and diversifying Rabobank's funding mix.”

“Our hard work on digitization and innovation is showing results and getting us noticed. In June, we joined the Digital Trade Chain, a consortium of seven European banks working to build a block chain platform for entrepreneurs. Rabobank is the only Dutch bank in this consortium. At the Dutch FinTech Awards 2017, Rabobank was voted most innovative traditional bank for FinTech. In the autumn, we will be the first European bank to launch the IBAN name check service which helps customers check whether the name and account number for payments match. This initiative—based on an idea generated in the Rabobank Moonshot campaign held in 2016—helps tackle incorrect and fraudulent payment transactions. Our peer-to-peer lending platform Rabo & Co now matches entrepreneurs with wealthy customers looking to invest, and our new 'Tellow' app is taking the strain out of bookkeeping for self-employed persons without employees.”

“In the first half of 2017, we once again took major steps towards achieving our ambition to be a meaningful cooperative and a sustainable bank, through the work of the local banks in the Netherlands and our international networks. We are proud that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) awarded the Jacques Diouf Award to Rabobank Foundation for its unfaltering technical and financial support to small cooperative producer cooperatives all over the world. Rabobank Foundation is an independent foundation with Rabobank as its biggest sponsor and founding father. Closer to home, we joined forces with KPMG and CSR Netherlands to stimulate circular economy action plans in the Dutch business sector. In the first half of 2017, our ‘FoodBytes!’ programme once again tracked down the most innovative concepts in food & agriculture and paired them with the capital needed to bring them to market.”

“We stepped up the pace of the transition at Rabobank in the first half of 2017. Our intensified customer focus proved successful, our profitability improved, our capital ratios came out stronger, and we further shaped our ambition to be a meaningful cooperative. And yet, given the changing environment in which we operate, we still need to do more. Our restructuring programme, which is impacting all parts of the bank, is a step up to the next phase of our transition. Under the leadership of the Managing Board, Rabobank will further boost its development and execute the changes needed to make a successful contribution to welfare and prosperity in the Netherlands and to feeding the world sustainably.”

Further information on the results for the first six months of 2017 is provided in the Interim Report 2017.

Rabobank Group Press Office
+31 (0)30 216 2758 or pressoffice@rabobank.nl

Rabobank Investor Relations
+31 (0)30 712 2401 or IR@rabobank.com

Elements of this press release are considered by Rabobank as inside information relating directly or indirectly to Rabobank within the meaning of article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU Regulation 596/2014) that is made public in accordance with article 17 Market Abuse Regulation.

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Press release Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:30:00 GMT 246773
<![CDATA[Rabobank: Changing Consumer Tastes Drive Long-Term Global Sugar Market Slowdown ]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/rabobank-changing-consumer-tastes-drive-long-term-global-sugar-market-slowdown.html?utm_medium=RSS The consumers’ shift away from sugar consumption is an important driver behind significant changes in the food and beverage industry. These changes will have long-term ramifications, including a likely slowdown in the worldwide sugar market, according to the latest report of Rabobank ‘Sweetness and Lite’.

A combination of changing preferences, product reformulations and government pressure have caused structural changes in the way sugar is perceived and consumed worldwide. “The consumer shift away from sugar has become a global trend,” Rabobank Senior Analyst Nick Fereday said. “This is a big deal for the sugar industry and cannot be dismissed as a passing fad or wished away.”

While the authors of the report, Rabobank Global Strategist Andy Duff and Rabobank Senior Analyst Nick Fereday, do not intend to act as “judge and jury” on sugar and related sweeteners in the report, they identified the primary reasons why consumers are moving away from sugar, including:

  • More consumers adopting low-sugar diets instead of ones that focus just on fats because they see sugar and refined carbohydrates as the main culprits in obesity.
  • The increase in legislation penalizing sugar-laden beverages, such as a tax on sugary soft drinks in countries such as Chile, Egypt, Mexico, South Africa and Thailand and in major metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Companies in the food industry are responding for instance by including overhauling ingredients, decreasing portion sizes and diversifying their corporate portfolios.

It is estimated that, if initiatives by companies and governments were to achieve a significant (5 percent or above) reduction in global food and beverage sector sugar use over a two- to three-year implementation period, it would offset much of the expected global growth in consumption during this period. In addition, the outlook for industrial sugar use depends heavily on consumption trends in emerging markets.

“The rate of growth of global sugar consumption in the coming 15 years is likely to be lower than the growth rate seen in the last 15 years,” Duff said.

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Press release Tue, 08 Aug 2017 16:00:00 GMT 246697
<![CDATA[Pork Quarterly Q3 2017: The EU, Canada, and the US Battle for China’s Pork Market]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/20170719-pork-quarterly-q3-2017.html?utm_medium=RSS Global pork trade is facing new dynamics, driven by price developments, new trade deals, and more challenging business environments, according to RaboResearch’s latest Global Pork Quarterly.

“While China’s pork imports have begun to slow down, other traditional importing countries have reported significant growth,” says Chenjun Pan, RaboResearch Senior Analyst – Animal Protein. “Looking to the second half of 2017, global pork supply is expected to increase further, and competition for global consumers will intensify.” This potential softening bias on prices contrasts with the stability of the Rabobank Five-Nation Hog Price Index thus far in 2017. In the first five months of 2017, China’s pork imports were flat, which contrasts with the significant growth seen in 1H 2016. The recovery of local production and strong international prices is believed to be responsible for slower imports. In China, pork prices have declined by 30%, from the record levels of last year. As a result, Chinese traders are taking a more cautious approach to imports in 2017.

Rabobank holds the view that China’s pork production will increase by about 2% in 2017. Hog production recovery was faster than expected in 1H, as many producers shared a positive view of the market and made rapid herd replenishments. While the expansion of hog production should continue in 2H 2017, it has been slowed by the price plunge in Q2.

“The emergence of these new trade dynamics will be the most important market development in the second half of this year,” according to Justin Sherrard, RaboResearch Global Strategist – Animal Protein.

Other highlights from the Pork Quarterly Q3 2017 include:

Tight supply and firm demand have maintained upward pressure on prices and starting to challenge exporters. In this context, the recently announced trade pact with Japan, offering tariff reductions, is good news for European exporters.

US pork exports still face uncertainty due to potential trade policy changes and a strong currency, but have been better than expected thus far in 2017. With weaker demand from China offset by stronger demand from Mexico, total exports are expected to increase by about 10%, compared with 2016. Increasing US exports are becoming even more important as production continues to expand.

Brazil faces great challenges due to political turmoil, and exports in recent months have declined significantly. However, even with these challenges, Brazil’s pork market is still expected to deliver a positive result, due to lower supply, favourable feed prices, and a favourable exchange rate.

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Press release Thu, 20 Jul 2017 10:03:29 GMT 246448
<![CDATA[The Rabo Impact Loan is expanding]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/20170710-the-rabo-impact-loan-is-expanding-300-million-for-a-sustainable-circular-economy-and-vital-communities.html?utm_medium=RSS The demand for the Rabo Impact Loan remains high. As a consequence, there is a follow-up loan with discounted interest for companies having a positive impact. Rabobank has received available funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a third tranche of 200 million euros. Furthermore, the bank, together with the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), is introducing the Rabo Impact Loan for Healthcare and Education for a total amount of 100 million euros for primary care and primary and secondary education, two sectors that are essential for the preservation of vital communities in the Netherlands.

Since the start of the Rabo Impact Loan at the end of 2015, many different sustainable leaders have invested in the future of their company. They are active in various sectors and projects, and they also contribute to sustainable development and vital communities. The first two tranches,  totalling 150 million euros from the European Investment Bank (EIB), have been completely used up by 140 SMEs and mid-cap companies. With the third tranche of 200 million euros, it’s expected that another 200 SMEs and mid-cap companies will be able to take a further step towards a sustainable and circular economy.

Bas Rüter, Director of Sustainability at Rabobank: ‘It’s wonderful to experience the great enthusiasm for investment with impact. While sustainability is still seen as optional at the moment, we would like for it to become commonplace for everyone in the coming years. A way of life, so to speak. That’s the focus of our sustainability agenda. A sustainable economy is not only positive for humanity, the environment and society, but also provides ‘profit’ for companies themselves.’

The new Rabo Impact Loan for Healthcare and Education is focused on two sectors that have great social value in the Netherlands. ‘Thanks to the partnership with CEB, we are going to strengthen organisations with a social impact in primary care and primary and secondary education,’ says Bas Rüter. ‘We are launching the Rabo Impact Loan for Healthcare and Education for them. There is a tranche of 100 million available, and we expect to be able to finance more than 100 projects with that. Customers can receive an interest rate discount of up to 0.80%.’

Holger Seifert, Country Manager Benelux CEB, adds: ‘We are convinced that the access to financing for micro, small, and medium sized enterprises and the encouragement of social and sustainable entrepreneurship is important. After all, entrepreneurship is a crucial driver for economic growth and job creation in the Netherlands. In addition, it can be a very efficient vehicle for providing social services that are tailored to local needs. We are entering into cooperation with the Rabobank to realize concrete improvements at social and sustainable level in healthcare and education.’

The first Rabo Impact Loan for Healthcare and Education was provided to Roden Healthcare Centre. Aeijolt Keuning, Director of the BCN Group: ‘The impact loan will help us to realise a sustainably constructed healthcare centre. Demand for healthcare in the Netherlands is changing dramatically, and the country’s healthcare expenses are among the highest in Europe. Nothing less than a complete overhaul is needed to address these challenges, including the integration of primary care services under a single roof in local health centres, which will promote collaboration and improve both the quality of care and patient convenience. An all-new health services centre, which will become operational in Roden in 2018, is currently being developed with these needs in mind.’

‘The power of this loan is that it’s a very concrete stimulus and support for conscious Dutch SMEs,’ explains EIB Vice President Pim van Ballekom. ‘The EIB and Rabobank are on the same wavelength with respect to what we call “climate action”, through which we want to limit climate change and encourage adjustments that reduce its impact. With each investment we look at the additional effects, not only on the economic level, but also in the sense of social, human and environmental impact. The continuation of the impact loan is a clear signal that sustainable enterprise is the future.’

Read the article about

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Press release Mon, 10 Jul 2017 12:16:31 GMT 246165
<![CDATA[Rabobank Foundation wins Jacques Diouf Award]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/20170710-rabobank-foundation-wins-jacques-diouf-award.html?utm_medium=RSS Rabobank Foundation received the FAO’s international Jacques Diouf Award on July 5th. This is recognition for the foundation’s many years of work and dedication. Rabobank Foundation was presented with the award for its efforts to support and economically strengthen small farming communities in developing countries.

The FAO Awards, an initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), are presented annually. The recipients of the award include individuals, institutes and organisations that make a substantial contribution to helping resolve the global food issue. Rabobank Foundation now has a place on this distinguished list of winners as a recipient of the Jacques Diouf Award 2016-2017. The award recognises Rabobank Foundation’s many years of dedication to improving the lives and food security of small farmers in developing countries. Albert Boogaard, Head International Programs Rabobank Foundation, and Ankie Wijnen, Chair of the Rabobank Foundation Supervisory Board, accepted the award. Boogaard: ‘Rabobank Foundation believes impact also means doing things other organisations do not do yet. We’re often the first and only financier and this award greatly encourages us to keep doing this.’

Global food security is a strategic Banking for Food theme for our organisation. The world population is growing rapidly and the agricultural sector is faces with a huge challenge to continue to meet the increasing demand for food. Rabobank Foundation focuses in developing countries on small farmers who have little or no access to financing and the market. Rabobank Foundation invests in the financial self-sufficiency of cooperatives and helps them on their way to autonomy and independence. It does this by, for example, providing financing and sharing the wealth of cooperative, banking and agricultural knowledge the Rabobank organisation has developed over more than a century. Boogaard: ‘We would like to thank the FAO for this important award. It is something of which everyone at Rabobank Groep can be proud. It is a acknowledgement that our Banking for Food strategy is of great value.’

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Press release Mon, 10 Jul 2017 10:04:18 GMT 246184
<![CDATA[Sustainable transition demands active interplay from government, business and the financial sector ]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/20170628-sustainable-transition.html?utm_medium=RSS CEO’s of Dutch financial institutions extend offer for collaboration with Dutch government in joint letter.

28 June 2017
 
Sustainable transition demands active interplay from government, business and the financial sector
 
At the end of 2015, the global community agreed in Paris to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius. This is essential for passing on a viable and habitable planet to future generations. The Paris accord urges all of us to act. Also our respective financial institutions endorse this course and wish to make a significant contribution. After all, the transition to a sustainable economy requires large private investments that need to be funded. We are convinced that we, as financial sector, can still implement additional steps, and that we can only do so successfully in true cooperation with both government, business and civic organisations.
 
Klaas Knot of the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) made the following comment during the presentation of DNB’s 2016 annual report: ‘Perhaps the most urgent and universal challenge is to make our economy climate neutral. That requires, among other things, a long-term vision, for example, enshrined in climate legislation, that stipulates how the transition should happen for the different sectors. Key to a successful transition is more effective pricing of CO2 emissions. In addition, the energy transition in the Dutch economy also offers opportunities. Credible and transparent policies certainly help.’ As financial sector, we share and fully support this vision.
 
Now that the climate goals have been agreed with global support, we all share the responsibility to make it work and realise them. It is regrettable that the US government no longer endorses the climate accord, but it is no reason to give up. We realise that sitting on our hands is not an option and ultimately makes things worse. Besides, this change also offers great opportunities for new prosperity. Particularly for a country like the Netherlands, that cannot boast a wealth in natural resources, and therefore has to rely on ideas and innovation. The transition to a climate neutral, circular and robust economy inspires many into action. New ideas and innovations are bubbling to the surface everywhere. Business organisations, too, earlier this year advocated a new, action-focused approach to ensure that the corporate sector can get moving with innovative solutions for the climate problem. Great strides have to be made in the decades ahead, both globally and in the Netherlands.
 
Banks and pension funds (and their administrators) have already done quite a lot. Climate impact is a key consideration in our credit and investment decisions and we are transparent about our own activities and their impact on climate. Pension funds particularly actively use their influence as shareholders to encourage businesses to make choices that support the energy transition. We support pioneers and try to resolve bottlenecks in the financing of sustainable projects. We increasingly finance green investments, e.g. through innovative green bonds, facilitating projects in the field of water management, energy efficiency, sustainable property and (infrastructure for) renewable energy. Currently, we are working hard with the Dutch financial sector on establishing a shared method for mapping the indirect climate impact of our core activities, such as mortgages, business credits and investments. Together with DNB, we are stimulating international debate on this issue. The Dutch financial sector is leading internationally on this topic. With a proper understanding of impact, financial institutions can phase out their services to the most polluting economic activities and contribute with a greater focus to the economy of the future.
 
We want to achieve a lot in the years ahead. When government offers a clear and widely-supported future perspective and opts for effective public-private partnerships, together we can make the sustainable transition a reality. By sketching the outlines of a climate-neutral and circular economy towards 2050, taking international accords as the basis. Consider, for instance, concrete and interim objectives for CO2 emissions, growth in renewable energy and energy conservation, where possible enshrined in law. That offers clear parameters for sectors such as agriculture, energy, industry, mobility and construction. Consistent application of the principle ‘the polluter pays’, a higher CO2 price and ending all (indirect) subsidies on fossil fuels ensures that the market adopts renewable energy. Encouraging frontrunners accelerates this transition.
 
This all requires a structurally different setup of the funding of our economy and society. The structure of the government’s budget and regulations applying to the financial sector do not currently encourage the sort of largescale long-term investments required for the transition to a robust, circular and climate-neutral economy. There is room for improvement in the way banks and pension funds fund this transition. We must seek new ways and structures. The funding of social and civic innovation also demands attention where government is retreating. The financial sector has already taken the first steps here (e.g. social bonds), and invites the government to shape these changes together with us and the corporate sector.
 
We will increase our efforts in the years ahead. This applies, for example, to the funding of renewable energy. But also to making the real estate and housing sector more sustainable. Besides our contribution to the goal to provide all office buildings in the Netherlands with at least a C energy label by 2023, as required by law, we also want to actively support homeowners to take steps towards energy efficiency for their own properties. And we stimulate economic sectors, such as dairy farming, glasshouse horticulture and the (chemical) industry to make the transition to a more sustainable future.
 
These ambitions thrive best when government, business and the financial sector join hands. It would be great if we are in mutual agreement. In partnership with institutions such as NLII and the (planned) Invest-NL, it helps create an innovative and robust financing landscape. We look forward to a rewarding and fertile collaboration with a new cabinet.

Peter Blom, Triodos Bank
Else Bos, PGGM
Kees van Dijkhuizen, ABN AMRO Bank NV
Wiebe Draijer, Rabobank
Carel van Eykelenburg, BNG Bank
Karl Guha, Van Lanschot Bankiers
Ralph Hamers, ING
René van de Kieft, MN
Gerard van Olphen, APG Groep
Maurice Oostendorp, de Volksbank NV
Jurgen Rigterink, FMO 
Menno Snel, Nederlandse Waterschapsbank NV
Paulus de Wilt, NIBC Bank 
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Press release Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:27:24 GMT 245736
<![CDATA[Rabobank Beef Quarterly Q2 2017: Market Disruption Changing Trade Flows]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/20170627-rabobank-beef-quarterly-q2-2017-market-disruption-changing-trade-flows.html?utm_medium=RSS The global beef complex has been characterised by a series of market disruptions through Q2, according to the Rabobank Beef Quarterly Q2 2017.

Political upheaval in Brazil, a new trade agreement between the US and China, and proposed bans on slaughter in India: All involve the major bovine-exporting nations of the world and have the potential to cause material shifts in global trade.

According to Angus Gidley-Baird, Rabobank Senior Analyst Animal Protein: “While US exports continue to perform strongly (and have now reached record levels), reduced supply from Australia and New Zealand, along with potential shocks from Brazil and India, could see the balance in the beef market shift back to a supply-limited market.”

Brazil’s meat sector has been rocked by two political events during 1H 2017. In March, the Brazilian federal police investigation into irregularities in meat inspections resulted in most of Brazil’s importing countries placing temporary restrictions on Brazilian meat imports (they have since been lifted). In May, Brazil’s largest beef processor was caught up in political scandal. Brazilian beef exports dropped by around 10% YOY in the first five months of 2017, opening space in the global beef market, and the recent drop in cattle prices may lead to a future reduction in production.

In early June, the Indian federal government released a directive that would ban the sale of cattle, including buffalo, in notified livestock markets for non-agricultural purposes—which would include the sale of cattle for slaughter. As India is one of the largest global bovine exporters, any ban on slaughter would have enormous global impact. At the time of writing, no further information was available as to how many states would conform to the federal government directive, and when.

The Rabobank Seven-Nation Beef Index remained relatively stable up to May, bumping around the 165-point mark for the past 12 months.

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Press release Wed, 28 Jun 2017 11:00:00 GMT 245709
<![CDATA[European banks partner with IBM for blockchain-backed trade finance SMEs]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/20170627-consortium-blockchainnetwerk.html?utm_medium=RSS A consortium of seven of Europe’s largest banks, including Rabobank, selected IBM to build a blockchain technology that will be used to facilitate international trade for small and medium-size enterprises. The project will mark one of the first real-world use cases of blockchain technology in financial institutions. The potential of blockchain has been praised by the banking industry over the past couple of years, but the first real applications are beginning. Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Societe Generale and Unicredit are also part of the consortium.

Blockchain is a general term for a distributed digital ledger that can record transactions and is tamper-proof. It's the underlying technology that makes cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and Ethereum possible, but it has also been talked up by banks as a way to streamline processes and make them more efficient and cheaper. IBM is building this new blockchain, Digital Trade Chain, to help parties track, manage and transact internationally.
 
When a merchant sells goods to another party and those goods arrive, the blockchain triggers a payment to take place, explained Wiebe Draijer, chairman of the executive board at Rabobank on Money2020, Europe’s largest Fintech event in Kopenhagen.
"We take care of the payment that's still the old payment technology", Draijer said. “But the whole infrastructure, the administration is done on the blockchain. And ultimately we will also move the payment into that blockchain solution, when the payment in blockchain is ready to be robust for large-scale application."
 
The tech solution will be built on Hyperledger Fabric, an open source blockchain framework, and will go live by the end of the year. "There are many tests and every bank and every fintech is experimenting with use cases of blockchain. We are moving a step further with seven banks, putting together an application based on blockchain where we facilitate small-and-medium-sized enterprises when they export. And the blockchain technology is very powerful and supports that proposition," Draijer said.
 
Marie Wieck, general manager at IBM Blockchain, said in a statement: "In working with hundreds of clients around the world on a diverse range of blockchain projects, trade finance has emerged as one of the strongest use cases for the technology. By addressing the SME market, which faces challenges in data sharing and access to capital, the Digital Trade Chain Consortium is pioneering a unique blockchain solution with the potential for widespread impact."
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Press release Tue, 27 Jun 2017 01:00:00 GMT 245691
<![CDATA[‘Providing knowledge and access to networks is the future of banking’]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/20170626-money2020.html?utm_medium=RSS “Our bank’s customer service has traditionally been based on providing financial products, but today’s financial needs are on a very different level. Products have become commodities which are interchangeable. That’s why we are transforming into a new bank to provide services that match the current era, current needs, plus help our customers set up innovative businesses,” Wiebe Draijer, CEO of Rabobank opened with a keynote address today at the start of Money 20/20 Europe in Copenhagen.

“Rabobank is a cooperative bank. We are driven primarily by the needs of our customers and members,” Draijer said. “In order to continue to provide the best possible service, we must know exactly what is happening in their lives, their problems, their needs, and what developments are impacting their businesses. We’re continuously looking for ways to help and support them in the best ways we can. This spurs a drive for innovation. Innovation is not an aim in itself for us, but rather a result of our drive and mission. We are developing our own FinTech startups and we get involved and invest in innovative external companies when strategically relevant. Through these companies, Rabobank is creating strategic options for the future and is helping build a sustainable and future-proof business model for our customers.”
 
Rabobank’s mission is to make a substantial contribution towards wealth and prosperity, and to resolve food issues worldwide. “We are making this happen not only by fulfilling financial needs, but also by providing access to both relevant knowledge and our network. For our customers, and also together with established partners and startups,” said Draijer. “Our innovation strategy focuses on helping our customers to innovate, being a bank for startups and reinventing our roots in both the Food & Agri and financial spaces.” In his keynote Wiebe Draijer mentioned Rabobank’s hybrid lending platform Rabo & Co, the Food & Agri accelerator program Terra, and the online community Global Farmers as examples of the strategy in action. 
 
Each year Rabobank screens 1000s of startups, accelerates 50 of them and begins experimenting with 30. Eventually, the bank selects and invests in 3 to 5 promising, high potential startups. Rabobank currently runs approximately 120 mid- and long term innovation projects with more than 700 people and participants involved in innovation inside and outside the bank.
 
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Press release Tue, 27 Jun 2017 00:14:29 GMT 245688
<![CDATA[Rabobank Dairy Quarterly Q2 2017: Optimism Grows Faster Than Supply]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/20170622-dairy-quarterly.html?utm_medium=RSS Global milk production levels continue to recover following the sharp contraction in late 2016, according to the Rabobank Global Dairy Quarterly Q2 2017.

Higher farmgate prices and more favourable weather conditions are providing much-needed relief for the world’s dairy farmers after a three-year decline in milk values. Farmgate prices in the US continue to track well above the prices in Europe and Oceania, spurred on by local demand and, thanks to a slightly weaker US dollar, firmer export trade. According to Kevin Bellamy, Rabobank Global Dairy Head: “We expect, given continuing good margins over feed, that milk production in the US will continue to grow and that, after a slight stumble in Q1 2017, US consumption of butter and cheese will also continue to drive solid domestic demand growth.”
 
Average farmgate prices in Europe moved up at the end of 2016, but have remained at only mildly interesting levels, leading to varied production responses. Farmers in Ireland, Poland, and Italy have all continued to expand production, with the UK also adding a late production spurt in Q2 2017. However, overall production in Europe has grown more slowly than many expected. Germany and France, the two largest producing states, fell well behind last year’s production levels throughout 1H 2017. With a cold and dry spring limiting production in March and April, and environmental constraints hitting the Netherlands, Europe’s farmers struggled to return to growth.
 
“The weak production growth in the EU, at a time of year when butterfat levels are naturally depressed, and the strong demand growth in the US have contributed to a global shortage of butterfat, forcing prices of butter and cream to exceptional levels. In the short term, to alleviate the pressure, processors will certainly be tempted to move farmgate prices up to encourage more butterfat supply”, according to Bellamy.
 
On the other hand, weaker milk supply in Europe has led to less need for surplus protein to enter public stocks, with, so far, much lower levels of support buying. Elsewhere, the surplus of proteins caused political tensions between the US and Canada in a spat over Canada’s moves to prevent US exports.
 
South American production recovery continues to be slow, but steady. In Brazil, despite the renewed political turmoil, input costs have started to decline, and production and consumption started to recover. Argentina is also likely to return to production growth in 2H 2017 as the region recovers from what has been a disastrous couple of years.
 
Looking forward to the remainder of 2017, New Zealand is ‘steaming up’, with more optimism for the new season than has been seen for the last three years and opening prices at, or around, NZD 6.50/kgMS. Good weather leading into the season will stimulate strong growth. Australia is also starting the season with more optimism than last year and will start to recover some, but not all, of the production lost.
 
In China, farmgate prices have been weakening, restricting volume growth from large corporate farms and forcing smaller farmers out of production, meaning that even mediocre consumption growth has managed to outstrip supply increases. With stocks running low, Rabobank’s expectations are that import levels will need to grow dramatically faster in 2H 2017 and that the full-year import growth will near the forecast of 20% for the year, conveniently soaking up the extra supplies stemming from New Zealand. In addition, the introduction of tighter infant formula regulations appears to be benefiting importers more than local players, with imports also significantly higher.
 
Overall, Rabobank’s outlook suggests that the global production recovery will continue, and the industry will move into a phase of trade expansion which will be needed to supply the steady, if modest, demand growth. The structural increase in demand for butterfat will, however, take longer to resolve, with prices needing to adjust to reflect changing consumption patterns and new long-term incentives needed to encourage the production of more fat.
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Press release Thu, 22 Jun 2017 11:00:00 GMT 245605
<![CDATA[Rabobank and Bleeve help customers to enhance the sustainability of their homes]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/20170620-verduurzamen-woning.html?utm_medium=RSS Lower energy bills, greater comfort and a home that appreciates in value. A sustainable home gives homeowners a host of benefits, but they often also see the path to solar panels and extra insulation as a long and complicated one. Rabobank has entered into an alliance with online platform Bleeve to help customers with implementing energy-saving measures.

Homes account for 18% of Dutch CO2 emissions. The Dutch Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth stipulates that all homes in the Netherlands must on average have an A label by 2030. Approximately 45% of Dutch homes currently have an energy label D or lower. This means a great deal must be done in order to meet this target. It can be achieved by building extremely energy-efficient new homes and by renovating existing homes to compensate for the low energy labels.

Elze Vonk, Director Residential at Rabobank: ‘We know that 80% of homeowners would quite like to do something to make their home more energy efficient. But only a small percentage of them actually take action. Homeowners encounter obstacles, think the process is too difficult or see too few benefits in investing in energy-efficient measures. Rabobank is joining forces with Bleeve to make it easier for homeowners to enhance the sustainability of their homes. In this way we’re giving a boost to the process of making existing homes more sustainable.’

Bleeve.nl is an independent online platform that brings together private homeowners and energy-saving solutions suppliers. The homeowner completes an online HomeScan that renders a concrete recommendation for their home. The measures ensuing from the recommendation can then be carried out by the local businesses. This has a dual benefit: it successfully unites supply and demand and boosts local employment. This is why Rabobank is utilising its network to also connect business customers with the platform. Bleeve provides the affiliated businesses with high-quality leads and in doing so helps them save on marketing costs. The businesses pay a small fee to Bleeve when they actually carry out the measures.

Paul Geurts van Kessel, co-founder of Bleeve: ‘The HomeScan gives homeowners quick and easy insight into the possibilities for either saving energy or actually generating energy. We provide advice on the cost-savings, the required investments and matters such as return on investment.’

More information: www.rabobank.nl/duurzaamwonen

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Press release Tue, 20 Jun 2017 14:28:12 GMT 245508
<![CDATA[Rabo Envision Tribe established for repositioning Rabobank]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/20170614_creatieve-samenwerking.html?utm_medium=RSS Rabobank is, together with the Planet Bank and DoenDenkers creative coalitions, forming the Rabo Envision Tribe. Professionals from all three partners will collaborate within this tribe. Rabobank announced in early April a creative contest for the opportunity to reintroduce Rabobank to society worldwide. The basic premise was that the idea had to be disruptive and distinctive. An internal jury and a so-called lay jury both selected the two finalists.

Planet Bank is a coalition comprising Havas Lemz, Justdiggit, Wageningen University and Universal Music Group. The DoenDenkers coalition consists of Ogilvy & Mather, Blazhoffski, Styn Claessens, Capitola and Jacques Koewijden & Paul Postma. A total of 198 coalitions took part in the contest. 
 
Leendert Bikker, Director of Communications at Rabobank: ‘This innovative concept of creative collaboration is based on the belief that managing and activating the Rabobank brand is a core competence of the organisation itself. Rabobank organises creativity in-house, close to the business and with the expertise from the different special fields of communications and marketing united within one team. The aim of this is to be able to communicate faster and with greater impact. The newly established tribe forms a unique mix of competences in the areas of reputation, communications, branding and activation. This set-up enables us to bring out the best in each other and to learn from one another. Rabobank is a meaningful brand that belongs to society. This concept fits in with this and contributes to our mission and strategy.’ The first work of the Rabo Envision Tribe is expected to be presented in October. 
 
Willem van der Schoot, CEO Havas Lemz, of Planet Bank: ‘Pooled international strength is needed in order to translate Rabobank’s pronounced ambitions into a razor-sharp positioning and a high-impact movement. Forming the tribe provides the opportunity to really make the difference together and to be even more meaningful for society.
 
Edgar Molenaars, CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, adds on behalf of DoenDenkers: ‘The innovative nature of the collaboration adds an extra dimension. It’s great to join forces to shape innovation, which is to everyone’s benefit. We’re convinced this is completely in keeping with the spirit of the cooperative Rabobank. A strong commitment has been made for the coming years and so we’re very much looking forward to the future.’
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Press release Wed, 14 Jun 2017 06:25:47 GMT 245340
<![CDATA[Rabobank Global Poultry Quarterly Q2 2017: Strong Industry Performance with a Shake-up in Global Trade]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/20170607-rabobank-global-poultry-quarterly-q2-2017-strong-industry-performance-with-a-shake-up-in-global-trade.html?utm_medium=RSS Global poultry is currently performing well, with profitability in most regions in the world, despite the ongoing global pressure of avian influenza (AI), especially in Asia, according to Rabobank’s Global Poultry Quarterly for Q2 2017. The big exception remains China, where the negative impact of human AI cases has kept prices down.

“Global poultry trade has reached record-high levels, but trade streams have shifted,” according to RaboResearch Senior Animal Protein Analyst Nan-Dirk Mulder. “The US and, to a lesser extent, Thailand have been the winners in this trade shake-up, due to AI-related restrictions and the impacts of the ‘meat scandal’ in Brazil.”

Human AI cases in China are still spreading and impacting the market, although prices have recently recovered somewhat. A concern is the further spread of the virus in China, with recent movements to northern regions. Chinese local authorities have closed many live bird markets, and this has had a particularly big impact on the yellow-bird market. Imports are relatively unaffected, as they serve the processed meat market.

The Brazilian ‘meat scandal’ is having a significant impact on global trade. Exports from Brazil have been dropping since March (April: -23%), and this has created an additional shift in global trade streams, on top of the AI-related impact. The US has been the winner, with European exporters also taking some of the Middle East trade.

Most global markets are performing well, with a combination of strong demand, restricted supply, and ongoing low feed costs. Industries in Mexico, India, Thailand, and Japan are performing particularly well, while South Africa and the EU are on the road to recovery.

Global meat trade is highly volatile, but reached a record-high Q1 level of 3m tonnes. Aside from the changes in raw trade driven by AI, along with the meat scandal, a potentially big—but still uncertain—development could be the entry of Chinese cooked chicken into the US market.

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Press release Thu, 08 Jun 2017 15:58:04 GMT 245181
<![CDATA[PowerWindows for Rabobank]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/rabobank-launching-customer-for-power-window-pilot-physee.html?utm_medium=RSS Delft-based startup Physee, Rabobank, and property developer OVG are launching the PowerWindows pilot project today at the new offices of Rabobank Eindhoven. A newly developed product, PowerWindows are patented and transparent double-paned windows designed for use in the construction industry. This marks the first-ever installation in an existing commercial real-estate property in the Netherlands of power-generating windows that have no impact on the glass functionalities in the building. The redeveloped Rabobank building in the Eindhoven neighbourhood of Fellenoord is ready for the future and will now, through this ground-breaking project, contribute to a more energy-efficient future for the built environment.

PowerWindows generate solar energy without having any impact on glass functionalities of any kind, including transparency levels and insulation levels. This way, PowerWindows contributes to the process of converting office buildings, tower blocks and hotels into energy-neutral buildings by using glass, an existing building material.

Physee CEO Ferdinand Grapperhaus: ‘I am very proud that we managed to develop and implement a sustainable innovation like PowerWindows in a highly competitive industry. Our free-flowing creativity and hands-on approach, combined with the single-mindedness of all parties involved, have turned this project into a success.’

Pieter Ketting, Rabobank’s Director of Group Procurement: ‘This PowerWindows pilot project is a fine example of how Rabobank aims to work with its customers and partners to promote sustainability. If this pilot project turns out to be successful, we believe PowerWindows will play a significant role in improving the energy-efficiency of commercial real estate.’

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Press release Wed, 07 Jun 2017 16:17:51 GMT 245161
<![CDATA[Dutch economy will continue to flourish this year, despite international uncertainties]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/20170607-EKB.html?utm_medium=RSS After a strong 2016, the Dutch economy continues to flourish this year. Dutch GDP is forecast to grow by 2.2 percent in 2017, and 1.9 per cent next year. There are still significant geopolitical and political risks around the world, but so far the Netherlands seem relatively unaffected: exports are rising steadily. Housing investment and household consumption are driving economic growth in the Netherlands this year. The labour market continues to improve considerably, with unemployment expected to hit 4.5 percent in 2018. After 2018 however, the economic catch-up growth will likely be over. This is the message Rabobank economists published in their Economic Quarterly Report today.

Despite positive labour market figures, long-term development of disposable income in the Netherlands is cause for concern. Rabobank economist Nic Vrieselaar: “Many Dutch people experienced a drop in income during the crisis. Incomes have now been rising only modestly for quite some time, despite the fact that unemployment is falling rapidly. Wage increases in real terms have actually been much lower recently than in the first months of 2016. This could partly be because of a relatively large gap between unemployment and underemployment, as is the case in other European countries. Furthermore disposable incomes and the functioning of the labour market would benefit from a reduction in the gap between net wages and taxes on employers.”
 
Global economy: slightly more political stability
Global economic growth is expected to slightly outpace that of 2016. Rabobank economist Daniël van Schoot: “We have downwardly adjusted our forecast for the US and UK, but we expect the eurozone and China to grow faster than previously thought. We are also seeing a global recovery in commodity prices, which is mainly benefiting commodity exporters such as Russia and Brazil.”
 
But there are still serious international concerns. Van Schoot: “These are now mostly geopolitical in nature. The protectionist stance of the US seems to have softened somewhat, but policies delayed don’t necessarily mean policies denied. The developments with respect to North Korea and the influence of China could have huge consequences for US-China relations. This means that a trade war between these countries is certainly not yet off the agenda. 
 
Apart from these geopolitical concerns, the global economy appears to have stabilised, although this is largely a cyclical phenomenon. Much of the current growth is catch-up growth, which is why policymakers need to tackle global imbalances more in order to limit their braking effect on growth. By global imbalances, we specifically mean the differences in national current account balances. These differences were a major contributor to the creation of the financial crisis.” 
 
The Quarterly Economic Report is available at: www.rabobank.com/economics 
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Press release Wed, 07 Jun 2017 07:22:45 GMT 245167
<![CDATA[New top management structure at Rabobank ]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/20170531_top_management_structure.html?utm_medium=RSS The Rabobank Supervisory Board has decided to introduce a new top management structure. On 1 September 2017 responsibility for the day-to-day management of Rabobank will transfer from the Executive Board to a Managing Board of ten members led by current chairman of the Executive Board Wiebe Draijer. The formation of a Managing Board will bring a flatter structure, increased focus on the digital transition, and representation of more customer segments at the highest executive management level. This should result in an acceleration of Rabobank’s digital transition. The Works Council has issued a positive advice on this change. All proposed appointments are pending regulatory approval.

Wiebe Draijer: “Eighteen months ago we set out our strategic route. We’re well on track, but this adjustment will help us boost the pace of the changes at Rabobank in relation to the market and to digitalisation. In the new Managing Board, all key customer segments are represented at executive level. Group-wide attention for digitalisation and talent at the highest executive management level gives us a closer fit with the change agenda of the cooperative Rabobank.”
 
Separate directors in the Managing Board will represent four key customer segments: Retail banking and Commercial banking in the Netherlands, Wholesale Clients and Rural & Retail International worldwide. The Digital Transformation Officer will be responsible for digitalisation of service provision, innovation and Fintech across the group. The Managing Board will also include the Human Resources role to boost culture, leadership and talent development even further. Alongside the chairman, CFO and CRO, the Managing Board will also include a CIO/COO with responsibility for IT, data improvement and operations. 
 
The Rabobank Managing Board will consist of :
  • Wiebe Draijer (51) Chairman
  • Bas Brouwers (45) Chief Financial Officer  
  • Petra van Hoeken (56) Chief Risk Officer
  • Mariëlle Lichtenberg (49) Retail Banking 
  • Kirsten Konst (42) Commercial Banking 
  • Jan van Nieuwenhuizen (56) Wholesale Clients
  • Berry Marttin (51) Rural & Retail International
  • Bart Leurs (45) Digital Transformation Officer 
  • Ieko Sevinga (51) Chief Information Officer / Chief Operating Officer
  • Janine Vos (44) Chief Human Resources Officer
 
In view of the changes to their domains, Rien Nagel and Ralf Dekker are taking the opportunity to seek new career challenges outside the bank. Once their current term of office expires, they will be available for a transition period to transfer their responsibilities.
 
Ron Teerlink, chairman of the Supervisory Board: “The formation of the Managing Board is a major step towards realising Rabobank’s strategic objectives. The new members will most certainly be a great asset to the team, working together to tackle the challenges we face with ambition and great energy. On behalf of the Supervisory Board, I would like to express our extraordinary appreciation to Ralf Dekker and Rien Nagel for their achievements on behalf of the bank. Ralf made a substantial contribution to streamlining our operations and IT and took the lead in intensifying our innovative power. Rien played a leading role in the governance change at Rabobank. On 1 January 2016, 106 cooperative local banks and the central cooperative organisation at Rabobank Nederland merged into a single new cooperative Rabobank. The process to bring about this change and its impact were of immense value to the bank. We wish both gentlemen every success in their future ventures.”
 
Wiebe Draijer: “I am looking forward to moving ahead on our strategic course with a renewed and extended team. Digitalisation, innovation and HR will be given greater priority. With separate executives for our key customer segments in the Netherlands, we can further tighten our focus on improving customer service provision in combination with our identity as a bank firmly anchored in local communities and always nearby. Outside the Netherlands, we will further capitalise on the growth potential in Rural Banking and through our continued focus on F&A, we will reinforce our leading position in the F&A chain for our Wholesale clients.  As a whole, this Managing Board constitutes a multi-faceted and balanced group of people with an outstanding track record inside and outside Rabobank. I too would like to express my appreciation for the dedication, professionalism and team spirit shown by Ralf Dekker and Rien Nagel. I wish them the very best for the future.”
 
Ralf Dekker: “Although we still have quite a way to go, I’m extraordinarily proud of what was achieved during my time on the Executive Board, certainly in the field of innovation, IT and operations. I’m confident that this upward line will continue in the new structure, certainly given that IT and innovation will be so explicitly incorporated in the new Managing Board. On the personal level, the time is right for me to take up a new challenge outside Rabobank, which I find an inspiring prospect.” 
 
Rien Nagel: “The change to the executive management structure at Rabobank and the three-way split of my portfolio is a logical reason for me to seek a change of direction and to leave the bank. I’m proud of what I have achieved, together with my colleagues, on behalf of our members and our customers. I wish the new Rabobank executive team every success. It’s been a great pleasure to work so intensively with them and I will continue to follow developments with great interest. As I explore options for my professional future, I will continue to focus on entrepreneurship.”
 
Elements of this press release are considered by Rabobank as inside information relating directly or indirectly to Rabobank within the meaning of article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU Regulation 596/2014) that is made public in accordance with article 17 Market Abuse Regulation. 
1) From 1 September 2017 the statutory Executive Board of Rabobank will consist of Wiebe Draijer, Bas Brouwers, Petra van Hoeken, Kirsten Konst, Jan van Nieuwenhuizen and Berry Marttin (reappointed for 4 years).]]>
Press release Wed, 31 May 2017 19:04:16 GMT 245103
<![CDATA[Industry leaders to join forces with startups to boost innovation in the Netherlands]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/20170530-costa.html?utm_medium=RSS Dutch industry leaders are putting forward recommendations and actions to bring about a lasting improvement in the cooperation between corporates and startups. The aim is to speed up the rate of innovation in the Netherlands. One of the actions is to make knowledge and a tool available to entrepreneurs – big and small – that want to innovate more rapidly and successfully partner with startups for that purpose. In addition, 19 Dutch corporates have committed themselves to jointly enter into more than 300 partnerships with startups in the year ahead.

These are a couple of the results of a year of collaboration and sharing knowledge and experience in the context of COSTA. COSTA, which stands for ‘collaboration between COrporates & STArtups’, was launched a year ago under the umbrella of StartupDelta with KPN CFO Jan Kees de Jager in the role of ambassador. Alongside KPN, companies of the stature of AkzoNobel, DSM, Eneco, ING, KLM, NS, Philips, Port of Rotterdam, Rabobank, Shell, Thales Nederland BV, Unilever, ANWB and ASML were at high level involved in this initiative. 
 
“The companies involved in COSTA are all prominent, innovative Dutch corporates,” says Jan Kees de Jager, ambassador of COSTA. “They all share a common guiding principle: by working with startups you can innovate faster and translate it more quickly into relevant products and services. That innovative power forms the basis for economic growth and is important for future job opportunities and welfare in the Netherlands. We invite all Dutch companies to use the knowledge and skills within COSTA to innovate further and help the Netherlands move forward.”
 
COSTA answers questions such as: How can governance help stimulate innovation with startups? How can you facilitate contact between corporate and startup? And how can a corporate offer startups more opportunities to become a supplier? 
 
Corporate Startup Readiness Tool 
One of the deliverables of Costa is a Corporate Startup Readiness Tool, which was developed by Erasmus Center of Entrepreneurship and Corporate Venturing Network. The tool is an online scan with which companies can quickly and easily assess how ready they are to enter into a successful partnership with startups. The tool contains best practices and shows what a company can do if it emerges from the scan that certain conditions for a successful partnership with startups are not or not yet present. For example, it might be necessary to communicate a clear focus on the particular area in which the company is looking for innovation and a partnership with startups. 
The Corporate Startup Readiness Tool is free of charge and can be completed online on https://readytoteamup.com. 

Connection with startups
When startups want to collaborate with corporates it is often hard for them to find the right way in. A single point of contact or address for startups is a possible solution and all the COSTA members have undertaken to set this up in their organization. A complete list of dedicated point of contacts can be found on www.vno-ncw.nl and www.mkb.nl. 

Launching customership
Innovation can accelerate when startups and corporates work together. By jointly developing a new product or service, for example, or becoming a launching customer of the startup, or facilitating the distribution of the startup’s products or services. In this context, the 15 COSTA members and four other companies (PortXL, Vopak, IBM Nederland and TNO) have committed themselves to jointly enter into more than 300 partnerships with startups within one year from May 30, 2017. 
 
COSTA partners and follow up
VNO-NCW, MKB Nederland and Corporate Venturing Network will carry on with the COSTA initiative as from today. Based on the COSTA results they are jointly going to push for strengthening innovation and the Dutch ecosystem for startups. Everything with the ultimate goals of making Dutch businesses stronger, more innovative and more flexible.
Leendert-Jan Visser, Director of Association Affairs VNO NCW and MKB Nederland: “The cooperation between large companies and start-ups is important for the innovation power of the Netherlands. We are committed to further strengthening this power and broadening it to SMEs."
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Press release Tue, 30 May 2017 00:16:49 GMT 245118
<![CDATA[Rabobank and Clingendael: ‘Economy stands stronger with circular approach’]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/rabobank-and-clingendael-economy-stands-stronger-with-circular-approach.html?utm_medium=RSS The Circular Economy offers an enticing prospect. By closing raw material cycles we can create a strong economy that the Earth can support.

‘But we will not achieve such an economy on our own. If we want our vision of a circular economy to thrive, we need more direction from the Netherlands and Brussels. That would also serve our geopolitical interests. A new government, and particularly the incoming ministers for the economy, climate and the environment, may therefore very well consider this an excellent issue to promote a more strategic economic and geopolitical agenda for the Netherlands,’ according to Bas Rüter, director of Sustainablility at Rabobank, and Louise van Schaik, Head of the Clingendael International Sustainability Centre, in the article published today in Trouw.

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Press release Wed, 24 May 2017 10:21:20 GMT 244975
<![CDATA[Rabobank successfully priced its first Covered Bond]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/20170522-covered-bonds.html?utm_medium=RSS On May 22, 2017 Rabobank successfully priced its inaugural EUR 2.5 billion dual tranche Covered Bond. Rabobank offered the Covered Bonds to institutional investors. A pan-European roadshow took place prior to the trade to introduce the Covered Bond programme to investors. Rabobank’s Covered Bonds are backed by Dutch prime residential mortgages and are assigned a (P)‘Aaa’ rating by Moody’s.

Rabobank priced a EUR 1.5 billion 7yr and a EUR 1 billion 15yr with an order book of over EUR 4 billion with over 140 different investors. Over the coming years Rabobank plans to issue one or two benchmark transactions a year under the Programme. Issuing Covered Bonds will further diversify and optimise Rabobank's funding composition, which supports the Strategic Framework of the bank. Covered Bonds provide cheaper funding and also leads to a further diversification of the investor base.
 
Information on the issue of Rabobank Covered Bonds can be found on rabobank.com/en/investors/.
 
Elements of this press release are considered by Rabobank as inside information relating directly or indirectly to Rabobank within the meaning of article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU Regulation 596/2014) that is made public in accordance with article 17 Market Abuse Regulation.
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Press release Mon, 22 May 2017 17:23:49 GMT 244948
<![CDATA[Winners Announced of FoodBytes! 2017]]> https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2017/20170519-foodbytes.html?utm_medium=RSS Koupe, Neofarms and Cerescon are the winners of FoodBytes!, a pitch competition that connects food and agriculture influencers and investors with the most disruptive startups in the industry. The awards were handed over in Wageningen, the Netherlands during the F&A Next conference, an initiative of Rabobank, Wageningen University & Research and StartLife.

More than 120 startups from around the world applied for the opportunity to pitch at FoodBytes!, which took place at food and agriculture innovation summit F&A Next at Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands. Twenty companies demonstrating innovation, scalability and social impact were chosen to compete for three awards – the Judges’ Choice Award, the People’s Choice Award and the Highly Commended Award.
 
Judges’ Choice Award: Koupe
A panel of expert judges were responsible for selecting the companies they felt best addressed  unique criteria, including scalability, product innovation, traction and social impact. Netherlands-based Koupe took home the award. Koupe has developed a healthy ice cream product, high in protein and fibre but much lower in sugar and fat than market leading products. Unlike rival healthy alternative products, Koupe uses no artificial flavours or preservatives. Koupe is carried by Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo and will begin selling in the UK through online supermarket Ocado this summer.
The start-up has won an accelerator programme course with Paris-based food accelerator ShakeUp Factory.
 
People’s Choice Award: Neofarms
F&A Next conference attendees voted for the People’s Choice Award winner via the FoodBytes! app. The award went to Neofarms, a German company that has developed a fully automated indoor greenhouse, fitted inside kitchens, that uses patented aeroponic technology.
Neofarms has won a one week start-up accelerator course with StartLife at Wageningen University & Research.
 
Highly Commended Award: Cerescon
Ten runner-up companies from the selection process were invited to deliver 60-second pitches. Judges selected a Highly Commended Award winner from the 60-second pitch companies based on the same criteria as the Judges’ Choice Award Winner. The Highly Commended Award went to Cerescon, a Netherlands-based company that has developed a robotic harvesting process for asparagus.
Cerescon has won the opportunity to appear as a finalist at FoodBytes! in Austin, Texas, in September.
 
Berry Marttin, member of the Rabobank Executive Board, said: "We were truly inspired by the range and quality of food and agriculture startups present and pitching, as well as with the large numbers of investors and corporates in the audience. To me this clearly evidences the commitment of all stakeholders to take innovation in food and agri to the next level; innovation that is much needed to deal with the challenge to provide an ever growing population with sustainable, sufficient and healthy food.”
 
Louise Fresco, president of Wageningen University & Research: “This is a unique time for the agrifood community. Great scientific advances such as robotisation and genomics lay the foundations for the bio-economy and the development of sustainable and healthy food. At Wageningen U&R we work closely with private sector partners and government to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. The second edition of F&A next is a great occasion to showcase this.”
 
Manuel Gonzalez, Global Head of F&A Innovation: “It was a great day of discovery and learning. The pitch companies’ energy and passion filled the room. FoodBytes! accomplished its mission of bringing the innovation ecosystem together and providing a voice to those finding scalable and sustainable solutions for the future of food and agriculture."
 
F&A Next was founded by Rabobank, Wageningen University & Research and StartLife. 
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Press release Fri, 19 May 2017 13:01:36 GMT 244939