News Bites

Amazon Germany introduced a controversial bonus scheme rewarding teams in which employees take few or no sick days. Doctors and labor law experts say the program could backfire. (N-TV)

A niqab-wearing woman suspected of assaulting the owner of an Arab lingerie shop in Berlin last month was arrested. The Polish-German suspect told police the erotic shop window offended her religious views.

Authorities in Dortmund evacuated 800 residents of a high-rise building to fireproof it after finding that similar cladding was used as on London’s Grenfell Tower. Around 80 people died when fire devastated the British complex in June.

The purchasing managers’ index for the industrial sector and service providers rose by 1.0 point to 56.7 points in September, according to IHS Markit on Friday, exceeding expectations. This suggests the euro zone’s GDP grew by 0.7 percent in the third quarter of 2017.

Varta, a maker of batteries for hearing aids and head seats, plans to enter the stock market this fall after an attempt failed last December in the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump, sources told WirtschaftsWoche.

The Swiss private bank Julius Bär hired Oliver Bartholet, UBS’s regulatory expert, as its new head of risk management. He will replace Bernhard Hodler in this role in April 2018.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised Angela Merkel for refraining from criticizing Turkey. The German chancellor “pursues meaningful politics” and the current tensions between both countries would ease, he said. (Reuters)

Steel production at ThyssenKrupp was almost completely halted as employees went on strike against the planned merger with Tata Steel Europe.

Parliament’s legal department cast doubts on the lawfulness of Chancellor Merkel’s 2015 open-door policy, arguing the Bundestag should probably have voted on allowing refugees into the country. (Die Welt)

Germany’s public debt fell by €60 billion to €1.98 trillion in the first half of 2017, a 2.9-percent decrease from the same time last year, the Federal Statistical Office said.

A number of German political figures received envelopes with white powder ahead of Sunday’s election, including Angela Merkel’s husband Joachim Sauer, CSU leader Horst Seehofer and Greens leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt. Police said the powder was found to be not dangerous.

Lufthansa appears to have won the first round of a bidding war for the bankrupt Air Berlin, entering into talks to buy subsidiary Niki and a number of Air Berlin planes. The administrator will also negotiate with Easyjet about selling planes and landing rights, and possibly with Thomas Cook’s Condor.

The next German government can expect to have more spending room than the €14.8 billion budget surplus for 2019-2021 projected by the Finance Ministry a few months ago. The ministry now expects to correct that number upwards in November. (Handelsblatt)

Stock exchange operator Deutsche Börse has capped total bonuses (both fixed and variable) for top management at €9.5 million, starting next year, in response to the insider trading scandal of CEO Carsten Kengeter.

Johannes Teyssen, CEO of energy giant E.ON, will likely have his contract extended another 3 years until the end of 2021, Handelsblatt has learned. Chairman Karl-Ludwig Kley will recommend the extension to E.ON’s supervisory board next week.

A new government report obtained by Handelsblatt warns it is getting increasingly difficult to provide public services in rural parts of Germany – both in the former east and increasingly in the west. Some 1.4 million people have left for cities in the last decade.

Siemens is talking to France’s Alstom about a merger of their train businesses and will decide in the coming days whether to continue talks with either Alstom or Canadian Bombardier, Reuters reported, citing unnamed insiders.

As geopolitical risks clear with Germany’s election, JP Morgan’s German investment banking head Christian Kames told Handelsblatt to expect a handful of large IPOs before mid-December. Sources say they include Novomatic, Austria’s Bawag and microbattery maker Varta.

Service provider Tennet will increase the rate for use of its electricity grid by 9 percent next year to handle an influx of wind and solar power from Germany’s costly energy transition, its deputy head Urban Keussen told Handelsblatt.

Social Democratic party leader Martin Schulz attacked a plan by Germany’s ThyssenKrupp and India’s Tata Steel to merge their steel production in Europe, cutting an estimated 4,000 jobs and moving the company’s headquarters to Holland.

New York’s Blackstone agreed to buy Darmstadt’s measuring technology group Schenck Process in a secondary buyout from Sweden’s IK Investment Partners in a deal worth more than €700 million. (Reuters)

Berlin would like to exit Commerzbank, which is reportedly in the sights of Italy’s Unicredit, in the short-term and prefers a merger with France’s BNP-Paribas. (WirtschaftsWoche)

Greenpeace activists in London blocked a ship delivering diesel cars from VW and tried to remove keys from others at a port in Kent to protest what they called “dirty” diesel engines. (Reuters)

An Iranian asylum-seeker held up 234 trains and sparked the cancellation of another 11 by climbing on a rail bridge in Cologne protesting the rejection of his asylum application. He was detained briefly by police.

Person of the Day A Handbag? Laila A., a 16-year old refugee, found a bag containing €14,000 ($16,790) on a Berlin metro train earlier this week. An elderly lady traveling on the underground forgot her valuables when she left the train. Laila handed it in to the authorities and refused to accept a reward, saying her religion doesn't allow her to take money that isn't hers.
Picture of the Day Mirror, Mirror More than 765 mirrors made of multi-colored acrylic and their infinite reflections: "Our Colour Reflection" is just one of a collection of surreal interactive art pieces in the "Perspective Playground" exhibition. Set in the industrial digs of a former power plant in Berlin, the traveling show is free to the public through September 24. Facebook/Kim Matthäi Leland
Graph of the Day Look Who's Voting Across Germany's 299 districts, more than 60 million people will cast their vote on Sunday, mostly at local schools. They will fill 73,500 ballot boxes, aided by 650,000 helpers who will hand out forms and count them late into the night.
Quote of the Day Cue Mic Drop Addressing the UN General Assembly, Mr. Gabriel took a shot at the US president and what he called "national selfishness" after Donald Trumop's address urged countries to put their nations first.

Profit Warnings

Storms Now Buffeting German Insurers

A series of natural disasters in North America is expected to result in losses greater than €80 billion, causing European reinsurers to tighten their belts.

Electric Utilities

Not for Widows and Orphans

E.ON’s CEO Johannes Teyssen nearly broke the company. Now he's getting a contract extension, as his bold plan to focus on clean energy has started to pay dividends.

Financial supervision

EU Accused of Watchdog Power Grab

The European Commission is using Brexit as an opportunity to centralize financial supervision within the EU. But its plans are meeting stiff opposition.

handelsblatt explains

German Political Parties

On September 24, Germans won't choose their chancellor directly. Instead they will vote for political parties — and there are 34 of them. What are they fighting for, and how?

Burden-sharing

Cyber Insurers Cry for Help

As a new growth market emerges to hedge against cyberattacks, insurers are seeking government backup to cap their exposure.

Election Coverage

Germany Votes

Read our political coverage ahead of Germany's vote on September 24.

European Banking

Numero Uno May Bid for Nummer Zwei

Italy’s UniCredit is reportedly eying a takeover of Germany’s Commerzbank in a cross-border merger that just might make sense.

Dashed Hopes

A Dangerous Decoupling

While the world's economy is growing and unemployment has tumbled, wages and inflation have hardly budged. Is globalization to blame?

Ask a German

Handelsblatt Explains

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

Heinrich Weiss

Boy Wonder to Big Boss

The longtime head of SMS Group remains as combative as ever as he moves the specialist engineering firm into new product lines.

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