The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookiesbefore using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

KPN’s Catch 22

Leading Dutch telecommunications provider KPN faces an uncertain future following the failure of its attempt to link up with Telefonica in Spain. Analysts see an obvious solution to its small home base: it must move into new markets and expand its subscriber numbers in order to survive. The company has been trying to do exactly this. But it has strained its finances and its credit rating in the attempt. Andrew Rosenbaum reports

There is an old Dutch saying: "you have to sow, if you expect to reap." The Amsterdam-based Koninklije KPN NV has gone along with that advice, and done a lot of sowing. It has invested in new businesses, bought operating licenses which may allow it to grow beyond its small national market, and sought international alliances. But it's not clear that the company will be able to spend enough to reap the rewards it is hoping for.

All that sowing has meant that KPN is facing a corporate finance problem.

Much has gone badly for the Dutch telecommunications company since last summer, when Spain's Telefonica pulled out of a potential full-scale partnership. Although KPN is the national champion telecommunications provider in the Netherlands, it's no more than a medium sized player in the European market. "KPN needs to expand, because its subscriber base is too small to support any considerable growth," says Gert de Mesure, an analyst with Delta Securities in Antwerp.

As there are reportedly no discussions underway with other potential partners, KPN has been obliged to fund its attempts at expansion alone.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?