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Philips Loses Two Employees in Malaysian Air’s MH17 Crash

July 21 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Philips NV, the Dutch maker of light bulbs and medical equipment, said it lost two employees when Malaysian Air flight MH17 crashed in rural Ukraine last week, killing 298 people, most of them from the Netherlands.

“Philips had two employees on that plane, they were on the plane with their families,” Chief Executive Officer Frans van Houten said in an interview with Bloomberg TV today. “Our thoughts go out to their family. I had to inform all our employees about this terrible loss.”

More than half of the passengers on board the Boeing Co. 777 wide-body held Dutch passports, with the plane flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur before it went down, probably after being hit by a surface-to-air missile. Van Houten said it’s the role of governments to investigate what happened, and he declined to comment on any corporate fallout from mounting tension between Russia and the European Union and the U.S.

“This is unacceptable of course,” Van Houten said of the downed aircraft. “But we should leave it to the governments to investigate what exactly transpired, and we should not jump to conclusions. But it was a terrible, terrible thing.”

Philips has a strategic partnership in health care with MEDSI, Russia’s largest network of private clinics, to develop a clinical network aimed at providing efficient medical care in Russia. The company also is in a joint venture with JSC Optogan for the production of light emitting diodes.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elco van Groningen in Amsterdam at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Thiel at Benedikt Kammel, Andrew Noel

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