News Bites

Bayer said it will sell more of its crop sciences business to BASF for €1.7 billion to win approval from US antitrust authorities for its takeover of Monsanto.

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen declared her preference Thursday for the Eurofighter to replace Germany’s Tornado jet fighters. Lockheed-Martin hopes to get at least some orders for its F-35.

Audi is partnering with Airbus to provide connecting limousine service for the aircraft maker’s helicopter ride-hailing venture, Voom. Audi will join Voom pilot projects in Sao Paulo and Mexico City this summer.

US regulatory approval for Bayer’s acquisition of agro-chemical and seeds company Monsanto is on track for the end of May, according to insiders.

The European Central Bank reaffirmed it will stick with its ultra-low interest rate policy well-beyond the end of bond purchasing, in order to stimulate the economy.

Despite Chancellor Angela Merkel prioritizing trade talks when she meets US President Donald Trump Friday, government insiders expect the US to introduce tariffs on EU steel and aluminum from May 1.

Police collected T-shirts featuring an SS logo and reading “Security Service Aryan Brotherhood” from a Neonazi festival in eastern Germany. The designs could be unlawful.

HSH Nordbank reached a deal to remain part of the German savings banks’ deposit insurance system for three years, as the northern bank transitions from a state-backed lender into private hands.

Germans will pay an average of 40% more for their asparagus this season compared to last year. Every year between April and June, so-called white gold becomes something of an obsession among northern Germans. (The Local)

Look away now if you pay tax in Germany: The country finished second in the OECD’s annual list of highest taxers, with the average single worker paying 49.7% of their hard-earned cash in social security and tax. Only Belgium finished higher.

Deutsche Bank chairman Paul Achleitner receives the highest supervisory board pay in Germany. The Austrian received €800,000 in 2017, according to a study by consultants HKP.

Police officers were invited to join in a bondage session after responding to a complaint of suspected sexual abuse. The participants were “well and in a good mood,” the Neustadt officers reported, but they “politely declined” the offer. (DW)

Chancellor Angela Merkel will lobby US President Donald Trump to not pull out of the Iran nuclear deal when she visits Washington tomorrow, according to sources. (Reuters)

British competition authorities will step up their investigation of German power firm Innogy’s venture with British rival SSE. Initial checks showed the deal could force up electricity prices, the authorities said.

EU budget commissioner Günther Oettinger will next week announce a new credit scheme offering emergency interest-free loans to euro-zone members hit by economic crises. (WirtschaftsWoche)

Demand for workers in Germany stopped growing in April, but still remains very high compared to a year ago, the Federal Employment Agency said.

The German economy will grow by 0.7% in the second quarter, according to the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). That’s more than the 0.4% growth expected from the first quarter.

RWE boss Rolf Martin Schmitz told shareholders the decision to break up fossil-fuel subsidiary Innogy was in the company’s best strategic and financial interests. The energy firm has agreed an asset-swap deal with rival E.ON.

Lufthansa does not want to take over bankrupt Italian flagcarrier Alitalia unless it undergoes major restructuring, said CFO Ulrik Svensson.

The German-Russian Foreign Chamber of Commerce called on Angela Merkel to lobby US President Donald Trump to exempt German businesses from parts of US sanctions against Russia. The Chancellor visits Washington tomorrow.

Despite selling more vehicles, first quarter operating profits at VW fell 3.6% to €4.2 billion. The carmaker said that without accounting changes the figure would be slightly up.

DWS, the recently floated former asset division of Deutsche Bank, saw adjusted earnings fall to €136 million in the first quarter, down more than a third on the same period last year. It blamed stock market volatility.

The number of building permits granted in Germany was down 2.5% in the first quarter of 2018, following a trend started in 2017. The drop was blamed on a decline in refugee accommodation construction.

Struggling Deutsche Bank posted first quarter net profits of €120 million, down 79% from the same period last year. It also announced cuts to its bond and equities trading business, particularly in the US and Asia.

Lufthansa’s integration of parts of the bankrupt airline Air Berlin into its lowcost unit Eurowings hit first quarter profits. Germany’s largest carrier had an operating profit of €26 million compared to €25 million a year earlier.

Operating profits at plastics maker Covestro, spun-off by Bayer in 2015, jumped 25% to €1.1 billion in the first quarter.

Berlin is considering stricter data privacy regulation in light of Facebook’s role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Sites such as Facebook that pass on personal details without “effective consent” could be punished, the interior ministry said.

Deutsche Börse CEO Theodor Weimer named three new executive board members for key areas of custody, trading and IT and disclosed an ambitious target of 10 to 15 percent profit growth per year through 2020.

Europe will need 5,000 new tanks by 2050, and will spend €100 billion on them and new howitzers as it replenishes obsolete systems, Frank Haun, CEO of tank maker Krauss-Maffei Wegmann told Handelsblatt.

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Person of the day At last What links these three men captured in an LA street shot? Berlin. JFK won over Berliners in the divided city with his German: “Ich bin ein Berliner.” Ronald Regan with his demand: “Mr. Gorbachev – tear down this wall.” Richard Grenell is expected to be appointed US ambassador to Germany on Thursday, making him the highest ranking, openly-gay official to serve in the US government. Source: imago
Photo of the day High above Berlin The aerobatic demonstration team of the Spanish Air Force demonstrated precision flying at the international air show ILA in Berlin. Too bad “precision” isn’t in the vocabulary of the engineers and construction workers building the capital's controversial new airport just below the planes. The airport is now more than €5.5 billion over budget and nearly seven years behind schedule. Source: DPA
Graph of the day Little progress Germany’s annual Girl’s Day initiative is intended to help young women choose a career. The statistics show many of them are still shying away from traditionally male-dominated jobs in technical fields and the trades.
Quote of the day Tank talk But Mr. Faun went on to say in an interview with Handelsblatt that the tab for developing the latest version of the Leopard tank, the 2A7, was picked up mostly by the “much-maligned third countries,” because there have been no significant arms purchases in Europe for a long time.

Contributions boosted

EU planning to cut subsidies for farmers and roads

EU budget czar Günther Oettinger wants Germany to pay more and receive less. The country's state premiers aren't having it.

protest anti-semitism in berlin

Religious tension

Protests against anti-Semitism draw support and anger

Jewish communities, supporters and politicians rallied in Berlin wearing yarmulkes to protest a rise in anti-Semitic behavior. One protest in Berlin ended prematurely after bystanders assaulted participants.

Editors’ Pick

call for help

Five ways the government could help German SMEs

The Mittelstand is the country's biggest economic motor, but right now these mid-sized companies wish the government would provide some elbow grease. Nine associations tell the government just what could help the most in an annual report.

Dive In

Promising Transition

For RWE shareholders, patience could be rewarded

German power provider RWE is going through another round of massive changes this year. It’s practically begging shareholders to stay along for the ride.

Double Take

Finance Minister Scholz is looking a lot like Schäuble

Germany’s new, notoriously tight-lipped finance minister likely will take the same approach as his predecessor on euro zone reforms and Greek debt relief. It’s not surprising: German voters are tired of bailouts.

Boo, hiss

Deutsche Börse faces chairman controversy at annual meeting

Proxy firm questions board performance after a turbulent year at the stock exchange operator.

Bahlsen

How the cookie crumbles

Bahlsen family withdraws from management of cookie empire

After more than 40 years at the Bahlsen company, Werner Bahlsen is handing over the day-to-day business to a management team. But he is still devoted to sweets.

tariffs

Coming Home

Trump’s tariffs challenge Asia production model for sports goods makers

Adidas, Puma and Co. should now locate their production closer to the customers, says Handelsblatt’s Munich correspondent.

consumer protection

Berlin putting the brakes on class-action lawsuits

The government has postponed a decision to launch a law allowing class-action lawsuits. It's likely to come, but with a straightjacket of rules to help shield the auto industry from a flood of claims in the diesel scandal.

Air power

Berlin Air Show last chance for Lockheed’s F-35 in Europe

German and French politicians seem determined to put Europe first in their choice of a new fighter jet. That won’t help them catch up in aviation technology.

Snoopy site

Facebook gathers far more data than users realize, claims Germany’s cartel office

The cartel office’s probe into the social media giant's data-gathering practices is being closely watched in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Hold On Tight

German cities may ditch contracts to rebel against E.ON’s power grab

Electricity giant E.ON is at risk of losing lucrative supply contracts with German cities as a result of its planned takeover and breakup of RWE's subsidiary Innogy, souring its historic bid to revamp the German power market.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

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

Berlin's struggle with urbanization

Gentrification

The Berlin way of urbanization

Germany’s capital, known for its grit, grunge and groove, is experiencing growing pains as it adjusts to its new position as a world-class city. Is Berlin in danger of becoming like San Francisco, London or Paris – another overpriced playground for the nouveau riche?

DAX

Profit and Loss Check

Once a year, we take a critical look at the financial health of selected German blue-chip companies ahead of their annual shareholders' meetings.

Not Deutsche

A luxury problem at Swiss bank UBS

UBS posted weaker earnings in its flagship wealth management business while investment banking, its stepchild division, flourished. Deutsche Bank, which could announce more cuts this week, will be looking on with envy.

Money for nothing

Draghi’s low euro-zone interest rates save Germany billions

Low euro-zone interest rates are deeply unpopular with Germany's savers and banks, but they have been a blessing for public finances, saving hundreds of billions in interest payments.

Corporate Responsibility

Does the Siemens CEO practice what he preaches?

Siemens chief Joe Kaeser in an interview said companies have a responsibility to provide jobs for the community. That has sparked a debate in Germany – including over the actions of his own company.

Wireless consolidation

T-Mobile/Sprint merger: Anything but certain

For the third time, T-Mobile US is negotiating a merger with rival Sprint. But the issues that undermined previous talks remain – plus some.

Emmanuel MACRON and Sigmar GABRIEL

better together

Germany should help, not hinder, Macron’s EU reforms

The French president is battling like no other for a strong Europe. Germany has to offer more support, says former foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel.

Privacy lost

European criticism of new US Cloud Act mounts

Europeans worry that Washington's effort to gain access to data stored abroad runs counter to its own more stringent privacy legislation.

Open Sesame

Alibaba deal with Daimler, Audi, Volvo shows China role in industry future

E-mobility and autonomous driving offer Beijing an opportunity to become the global leader as technology dictates standards.

Alfonso Dastis

Alfonso Dastis

Spanish foreign minister rejects mediation in Catalonia conflict

Spain wants to solve the ongoing dispute over Catalonia's independence without any help from Germany.

mercron, angela merkel and emmanuel macron go to washington, dc

Pressing deadlines

Mercron heads to DC to sway Trump on trade, Iran

This week, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron will try to persuade Donald Trump to abandon his protectionism and preserve the Iran nuclear deal.

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