News Bites

Authorities arrested 11 people connected to a Nuremberg firm in a Germany-wide raid, accusing them of customs fraud related to importing Chinese solar panels. (dpa)

Leaders from across the EU meet in Brussels today and Friday to discuss trade, taxes, the US and Russia.

Dividends paid by DAX firms, Germany’s 30 largest listed companies, jumped by 15% in 2017 compared to the previous year, consultancy EY found. That’s an estimated total of €36.1 billion. (dpa)

Justice Minister Katarina Barley asked Facebook’s European bosses to meet her next week to discuss the data scandal. (Reuters)

Thanks to increased tax income, Germany will borrow €2 billion less in loans that anticipated, the federal finance agency reported.

A court has ordered Bosch to disclose communications about software it supplied to VW that enabled the carmaker’s emissions manipulation. The documents date back as far as 2007.

Ticket company CTS Eventim recorded revenue of more than €1 billion last year, up 25% on 2016. The Bremen-based firm is listed on the MDAX mid-cap index. (dpa)

Energy company EnBW surpassed €2 billion in earnings in 2017, after recording losses of €1.8 billion the year before. (Reuters)

The Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index for Germany dropped to an eight-month low of 55.4, probably because of a serious flu wave across the country in March.

ZF Friedrichshafen‘s new CEO, Wolf-Henning Scheider, plans to spend more than €2 billion on research and development on electric and autonomous vehicles in 2018. (Reuters)

The Ifo business climate index fell for the second month in a row, from 115.4 points to 114.7. The Munich-based economic research institute surveys 7,000 German managers each month. (Reuters)

Commerzbank is working on an international banking platform to serve EU clients, say insiders. (WiWo)

LinkedIn will open a second office in Germany this year, adding 20 workers in Berlin. The career social networking site has had an office in Munich since 2011. (WiWo)

A record €11.2 billion in solidarity taxes was redistributed from the richest German states to the poorest in 2017, 5.3% more than the previous year.

The latest addition to the Internet of Things: Truck tires made by Continental will keep track of pressure and temperature via Vodafone’s network to avoid flats and accidents. (dpa)

Little LED traffic light images of Karl Marx will soon guide pedestrians across streets in his birth place of Trier to honor the philosopher’s 200th birthday.

Germany’s blue-chip DAX index rebounded from a pre-market dip after the US Federal Reserve’s quarter-point interest-rate hike on Wednesday.

Person of the day Time to pay up Berlin's fraught relationship with Warsaw has reached another low. Just days after welcoming his newly inaugurated German counterpart Heiko Maas (left), Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz upped the rhetoric and demanded war reparations from Germany — a highly contentious issue between both countries that recently resurfaced. "We will talk about the need to compensate the Poles for the damage suffered during World War II," the right-wing minister said in Parliament in Warsaw. "We will look at legal, political and financial ways." Source: DPA
Quote of the day Some explaining to do Despite Germany's notorious obsession with data privacy, the country has been slow to respond to the unfolding Facebook data scandal. But Berlin is catching on. The justice minister, Katarina Barley, wants Facebook Europe to explain itself, saying it is unacceptable that users of social networks are unwittingly targeted with political hate campaigns. "Such methods are a threat to democracy," Ms. Barley said. Other government officials also said they would look into the matter.
Picture of the day A VIP funeral service The crème de la crème of Germany's Catholic clergy congregated in Mainz, one of the country's oldest cities and top Catholic hotspots, on Wednesday. They paid their last respects to Monsignor Karl Lehmann, who served as the city's bishop for 33 years until 2016. Father Lehmann, who was elevated to Cardinal in 2001, was one of Germany's most influential religious leaders. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel, both Protestants, were among the 8,000 attendees. Source: DPA
Number of the day Milking the state they hate Some 92 members of the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, entered the parliament last year. Each lawmaker receives €20,870 ($25,715) a month from state coffers to pay their staff. Research by the weekly paper Die Zeit revealed that of the AfD's 297 parliamentary assistants, 27 belong to right-wing extremist groups or unconstitutional organizations, including the NPD party or the HDJ, a banned neo-Nazi youth group. Many more routinely spread conspiracy theories or racist posts on social media.

Lady Luck

BASF: The unexpected winner in the Bayer-Monsanto merger

Things played out better than expected for German chemical giant BASF as Bayer progressed in its monster Monsanto acquisition.

Aldi Italy

Fresh veggies

German discounter Aldi takes on Italy

Aldi takes the plunge in Italy and opens new stores after a two-year study of Italian shoppers, who take their time and value good taste.

Editors’ Pick

Racing cars

Germany’s long, slow and carefully considered attack on Tesla

They have been trailing the US e-car pioneer for years but now VW, Mercedes-Benz and BMW are pumping billions into mass producing their own electric cars. Tesla's German competition will get really serious this year.

Dive In

Go, Go, Go

Green light for $62.5 billion Bayer-Monsanto merger

The EU's antitrust authorities have given the go-ahead for the Bayer-Monsanto merger, but only if the German chemicals giant agrees to their terms.

reactionary movement

Populism infiltrates German companies as workers resist gender quotas

In Germany, workers have a greater say in corporate decisions. For multinationals like Daimler and SAP, this is exposing the same social divisions as the rise of the populist parties in politics.

germany trade surplus

Out of balance

Germany’s trade surplus won’t budge in 2018

Exports will far exceed imports again in 2018, keeping that controversial paunch on the German economy. Economists say it's time for the government to stop being greedy and step up investment.

russia and germany, putin and merkel

Chill winds

Is Germany turning on Russia?

New foreign minister Heiko Mass has indicated that Germany's policy towards Russia may be hardening in the light of Putin's recent re-election and allegations of state-sponsored assassinations.

vw class action lawsuit germany

One for All

German business antsy about prospect of class-action lawsuits

German companies vehemently oppose the new government's plan to allow class-action lawsuits, which would greatly help VW owners fight for Dieselgate compensation.

yanis varoufakis misses wolfgang schäuble

news gallery

In case you missed it

Finance minister missives, edible ivory, outlooks for 2018 and Germany's new startup show.

Slap on the Wrist

Light-touch regulation favors Germany’s Big Pharma

German drug makers boast that their self-regulatory organization has a strict code of conduct. In practice, though, it's more lax than its US counterpart.

Airbus suspect investments

legitimate or bribes?

Airbus corruption investigation focusing on suspect investments

Airbus spent hundreds of millions of euros on office buildings in Beirut, wind farms in Germany and Malaysian Formula One racing cars as inducements to buy airplanes. Investigators think they may have been bribes.

looming trade war

Tariff dispute

Germany works to avoid trade war with US

Germany's economy minister, Peter Altmaier, tries to reach an agreement with the US in the trade dispute. But the time for compromises is running out.

Business Muddles

P&R, a container investment giant, runs aground

Munich-based container financing company P&R has filed for insolvency in one of the biggest financial scandals in modern German history.

Dieselgate reloaded

Prosecutors raid VW, seek evidence of market manipulation

VW headquarters were raided this month. Prosecutors think the German carmaker may have misled investors about CO2 emissions and fuel consumption in 2015.

Battling Paris

Is Merkel too chicken to bang the drum for Frankfurt?

Chancellor Angela Merkel must lobby harder for Germany’s financial center Frankfurt in the race for the spoils of Brexit, say bankers and lawmakers.

Keeping course

VW presses ahead with self-driving cars, despite Uber crash

Germany’s largest automaker will for now continue its plans to develop driverless cars, regardless of the fatality involving an Uber vehicle in the US.

Successful restructuring

Europe’s chemical industry powers back to health

Not so long ago, European chemical companies were on the brink. But a remarkable turnaround has the sector booming, and even overtaking its American and Asian rivals.

No more kid gloves

With Moscow, talk is no longer enough

Sanctions worked for Iran and they would work for Russia, so what are we waiting for, asks Handelsblatt’s correspondent.

Run for your life

Generali mulls sale of all German life insurance policies in industry test case

Italian insurer may offload four million policies in the biggest such deal in Germany ever.

Surprise choice

Goldman Sachs banker joins Germany’s new government

As Angela Merkel's new coalition government takes shape, ministries recruit private sector executives in a break from tradition.

Shaky systems

Botched logistics update torpedoes Henkel results

Henkel’s beauty products division has been plunged into crisis, following a failed reorganization of logistics. Revenue targets now seem unattainable.

OECD study

Migrant students behind the curve in German schools

Language barriers and socio-economic hurdles mean immigrant students perform worse in classrooms across Germany than their native peers, according to OECD research.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

Much about Germany is confusing or surprising to foreigners - and even to Germans. Our editors provide clarity.

December 2020

EU and UK agree on a Brexit transition period

The 21-month accord eases worries but leaves plenty of issues unresolved, including the "hardness" of the Irish border.

Risky Attractions

Ex-FDIC boss warns of ‘race to the bottom’ on banking regulation

Ten years after Bear Stearns' collapse, Sheila Bair warns that reforms to America's Dodd-Frank banking law are downright dangerous, but could encourage the Europeans to follow suit.

them too

Germany has a slew of potential candidates for Russia sanctions

Former chancellor Gerhard Schröder is not the only senior German with close ties to Russia. A long history of dialogue with Moscow underpins Berlin's conciliatory foreign policy, as well as a handful of questionable business deals.

Charm offensive

German ministers on the road to avert all-out trade war

The German government is pulling out all the diplomatic stops to avert trade war with the US, sending two senior ministers abroad this week. In an exclusive interview, new Economics Minister Peter Altmaier outlined his plans for Washington.

growing impatience

Investors could see red if Deutsche’s first quarter disappoints

Many of Deutsche Bank's shareholders want to see better results. John Cyran's progress so far may be too little, too late.

Touché, Chancellor

Environmentalists challenge Merkel’s coalition on emissions

Germany isn’t on track to uphold its part of the Paris Climate Agreement. Follow France’s lead or end up in an environmental crisis, activists warn.

Ever Closer Union

How to boost European integration? A common safety net for the jobless

An EU-wide unemployment insurance would be in Germany's interests and bring the 28-nation community closer together, writes a leading German economist.

increase the peace

How to stop a trade war

If the EU doesn’t want a trade war, then it should lead by example, argues the head of German Council of Economic Experts.

snow ball

Hailing a cocaine cab in Berlin

Germans living in the capital are taking more coke than ever, thanks to the darknet, ocean liners and drug taxis.

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