News Bites

German subsidies of up to €4,000 for new electric or hybrid vehicles aren’t proving popular. Of the €600 million available, only €78 million have been paid out since the program launched two years ago.

German financial regulator BaFin is getting fewer complaints about investment advisors. The register introduced after the financial crisis had 4,353 complaints last year, compared to 9,720 in 2012, its first year.

Berlin has not yet decided whether to allow Iran to withdraw €300 million in cash from a German bank account. Washington opposes the transfer.

EU parliamentary representative Jens Gieseke, a member of Angela Merkel’s conservatives, called for a relaxation of CO2 reduction targets by 2030 because current plans are “unrealistic.”

At least 16 people died when a boat with 160 refugees on board sank off the coast of Turkish Cyprus. Around 30 people are still missing. (CNN Türk)

Continental, the world’s fourth-largest tiremaker, plans to split up into four parts focusing on rubber, autonomous driving, vehicle networking and powertrain technologies. It aims to list a minority of the latter business on the stock market.

Berlin opposes a breakup of steel conglomerate ThyssenKrupp, whose CEO and chairman resigned under pressure from activist investors.

The European Commission confirmed a quota for steel products imported into the EU, and a levy of 25% on imports above the limit. The measure, a retaliation against US steel tariffs, will apply as of Thursday.

Chinese car-parts maker Ningbo Jifeng no longer wants majority ownership of German peer Grammer, instead settling on 36% as the threshold at which it will buy Grammer shares.

Some 3,000 General Electric employees in Germany will no longer work for GE once these divisions are sold off, as part of the company’s restructuring.

Google needs to pay a €4.3 billion antitrust fine to the European Commission, the second EU penalty in the billions within a year. The competition authority found that the US tech giant forces mobile phone makers to install Google apps when they run Google’s operating system, Android.

The German Soccer League, DFL, rebuffed entrepreneur Martin Kind’s bid to buy a majority stake in Hannover 96. The DFL then asked the German antitrust watchdog to review the league’s takeover rules.

Swiss drugmaker Novartis won’t raise prices in the US, citing political circumstances. British rival Pfizer canceled price hikes recently after Donald Trump called its CEO and complained.

Around 800 Tesla owners in Germany have to pay back €4,000 in subsidies because the Model S is too expensive to qualify. Tesla will cover the cost and appeal the clawback. (Electrek)

Bavaria’s state police started its own checks at the Austrian border to stem the inflow of refugees. Facing elections in October, state premier Markus Söder advocates a tough line on migration.

Easyjet expects 175 million pounds ($228 million) in annual losses from its new operations at Berlin Tegel airport, for which it acquired landing rights from bankrupt Air Berlin last year.

A convicted supporter of neo-Nazi terror, Ralf Wohlleben, has been released from detention, pending his appeal. There’s no longer a risk the man will flee, a Munich court said.

The region Lower Austria has drafted a regulation to restrict the sale of kosher meat to Jews who only eat kosher food. The Austrian state wants to limit animal suffering. (Wiener Zeitung)

State-owned Cologne Bonn Airport paid over €130 million in incentives to attract flights from low-cost carriers such as Eurowings and Ryanair. An auditor criticized the payments, because accounts did not document any service in return.

Germany’s Supreme Court by and large confirmed the legality of the country’s compulsory public broadcasting fee, an €8 billion sum paid by consumers and companies.

Artificial intelligence will fundamentally reshape work and economies, and Germany and Europe should master the technology, Economics Minister Peter Altmaier said. Berlin approved strategic outlines to support AI development in Germany.

Germany’s cooperative banks Volksbanken and Raiffeisen made a pre-tax profit of €8.9 billion last year, up 7% from 2016. The banks expect a slight decrease this year.

The European Central Bank said its bond-buying program has probably helped to reduce income inequality in the euro zone, as the €2 trillion stimulus boosted economic growth and helped low-skilled people find a job.

Tehran wants the German Bundesbank to transfer billions of euros to Iran to help it sell oil to India. The EU also wants European central banks to wire euros to Iran to keep the nuclear deal alive.

The government is set to approve a law to help 150,000 long-term unemployed people find work again. Berlin will pay their salaries the first two years, but capped at the minimum wage.

Angela Merkel’s government approved a draft law to send refugees back to Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Georgia, declaring the countries safe. The Upper House previously blocked the initiative and might reject it again.

Euro-zone consumer price inflation rose to 2.0% in June from 1.9% a month earlier, confirming a preliminary figure from three weeks ago.

Germany’s manufacturing industry, including makers of machines, vehicles and chemicals, had an order backlog of 5.6 months, unchanged from a month earlier – the highest level since tracking began in 2015.

Scout24 will buy consumer credit platform Finanzcheck.de for €285 million, adding a new business to its real estate and automobile classifieds websites.

In a surprise statement, commercial property owner TLG said it would replace its executive board, nominating Jürgen Overath and Gerald Klinck as managers as of October 1.

The CEO of Swiss cooperative banking group Raiffeisen, Patrik Gisel, will resign at the end of this year due to a criminal investigation into alleged fraud by his predecessor, Pierin Vincenz. Mr. Gisel previously was Vincenz’s deputy.

EU Commission President Juncker, who has been busy signing trade accords in Asia, will go to the White House next week to discuss trade with President Trump, along with security, energy and fighting terrorism. (AP)

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative alliance CDU/CSU registered its lowest approval since 2010 in a new poll at only 30.5 percent. The two parties’ clash over refugees last month threatened to bring down the government. (Reuters)

Shareholders of French rail giant Alstom overwhelmingly approved the planned merger with Siemens rail operations, leaving the verdict of antitrust authorities as the only remaining hurdle. (Reuters)

News gallery

In case you missed it

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Daily briefing

Woulda, coulda, shoulda (Trump, May, Thyssen)

Trump tries damage limitation while Theresa May plows ahead with Brexit, come what may. Here's our daily briefing for July 18, 2018, plus relatively good news on Google.

german universities international students

Degree of certainty

Foreign students flocking to German universities

The number of foreigners choosing to study for degrees in Germany is increasing. The country now ranks fifth, behind the US, Britain, Australia and France, as students' destination of choice.

Cleaned up

Germany overhauls chaotic anti-money-laundering unit

After a year of backlogs and delays in handling urgent money-laundering tip-offs, Germany’s new Financial Intelligence Unit is getting hundreds more staff, new powers and a new boss. 

Editors’ Pick

Digital money

How soon will Big Tech disrupt the banks?

With Google set to launch Google Pay in Germany, some observers predict that Big Tech companies will corner the market in personal financial services. For others, the fear is hugely exaggerated.

Dive In

All change

ThyssenKrupp shares soar as top-level departures signal breakup

With the departure of the CEO and chairman, activist investors appear to have won a boardroom battle over the future strategy of the conglomerate. It could be a turning point in German corporate governance.

Against the law?

Germany divided over illegal deportation of man linked to Al Qaeda

A former bodyguard for Osama bin Laden was deported despite a court order saying he could remain in Germany. Now, many are asking who ordered the deportation.

Surprise Comeback

SUV boom drags diesel out of the doldrums

Fueled by surging SUV demand, German diesel sales are edging up again after three years of decline. Driving ban fears are subsiding and the need to meet EU emissions targets is helping.

Win-win deal

German gas firm Messer profits from Linde-Praxair selloff

Linde and Praxair are selling assets to meet antitrust concerns over their merger. German family-owned industrial gas firm Messer has swooped in to purchase American operations, turning it into a global player.

eco charm offensive

E-car service Uber Green to launch in Berlin despite misgivings

Uber hopes its electric ride hailing service will find friends among environmentalists, but Germany will be a tough nut to crack.

middle kingdom

EU and China find new rapport in Beijing, amid US trade disputes

At last year’s summit, the EU and China had so little in common they didn’t even issue a joint statement. This year, the two parties are upholding “free trade and the multilateral order” in the face of the what appears to be a new common enemy.

Power players

Trump and Putin ignore Europe in Helsinki summit

The historic meeting of the leaders worried European officials fearful the two were united in opposing their interests. Amid global security matters and the US election controversy, there was little mention of Europe.

Smoke screen

Deutsche Bank’s second-quarter profit surprise

Shares in Deutsche Bank soared on Monday following news of a surprisingly strong second quarter. But it’s far too early to talk of a turnaround.

Penny-Pincher

Germany’s beloved finance minister needs to prioritize investment

Olaf Scholz is Germany’s most popular politician, but he isn’t investing enough in education, infrastructure and health, writes Handelsblatt’s Martin Greive.

unknown unknowns

German car supplier Brose builds a complex plan B for Brexit

Brose, a maker of auto components from Germany, is re-configuring its network of factories in 22 countries plus Britain, amid uncertainty about Brexit.

Fiscal fillips

Berlin should brace for economic downturn, Bundesbank chief warns

Germany is enjoying another year of robust growth. But Jens Weidmann warns the government must prepare now for the end of the boom, which easily could come sooner than later.

Murder most foul

Doubts grow over ‘suicide’ of Bavaria’s fairytale king

Speculation about the death of Bavaria’s King Ludwig II in 1886 has swirled for decades, like the Alpine mist that wafts across the turrets of his world-famous Neuschwanstein palace. New research suggests the official verdict of suicide was fake news.

Digital Estate

German court rules Facebook content is inheritable, just like a diary

A landmark ruling from Germany’s high court has set aside privacy concerns and put digital assets on the same footing as physical assets after death.

BAVARIAN BOOM

No end in sight for Munich’s real-estate rush

Bavaria’s capital is Germany’s most expensive city to buy or rent property. With demand steady and supply constricted, prices look set to keep pressing upward.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

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

Summit shock

In, out and down in NATO

Donald Trump knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, not even of the Western alliance, says Andreas Kluth. The onus is on Germany to respond.

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