Van der Moolen seeks bankruptcy protection

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Dutch trading and brokerage firm Van der Moolen is filing for protection from its creditors.

Amsterdam – Dutch trading and brokerage firm Van der Moolen, once one of the most prestigious names on the Amsterdam stock exchange, has applied for protection from its creditors.

The firm's new management team says it can no longer meet its immediate payment obligations.

Van der Moolen puts the strain on its cash reserves down to high costs, disappointing returns, an expensive change of address and last year's purchase of its own shares for EUR 30 million.

The company made EUR 14.5 million profit in 2008 but has already lost nearly 8.7 million in the first six months of this year.

Van der Moolen was formed back in 1892, famed for its jobbers and once referred to as "King of the Damrak" (the Amsterdam equivalent of Wall Street).

CEO Richard den Drijver jumped ship in July and former director Hans Kroon turned down the offer of a supervisory position. The management is now considering selling off parts of the business and starting again in a slimmed-down form.

In recent years the firm has been plagued with unfavourable market conditions, shrinking US activities and court cases alleging illegal practices on the New York stock exchange. It denied misleading investors and failing to carry out their instructions correctly but settled out of court for nearly USD 58 million (EUR 41 million).

There's talk of a radical rescue plan to save the day. But NRC reckons they need to act quickly, now that 21 traders have already jumped ship.

"Financial trading is all about the people: when they go, your trade goes with them." The paper sees the demise of the firm that "once enjoyed international glamour status" as "a symbol of the credit crisis" and the current mentality that "a company is happy to share in the profits but not to be held responsible for the losses."

Meanwhile, trading in Van der Moolen shares has been suspended on the Amsterdam stock exchange.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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