News Bites

Beiersdorf board member Stefan De Loecker, 51, will become CEO of the consumer products company in January, after current CEO Stefan Heidenreich steps down, as previously announced. De Loecker has been with the company for six years.

The main reason why voters abandoned the CSU during Sunday’s election was death. Some 240,000 of its voters died and another 220,000 migrated to the Free Voters party as well as 190,000 to the Greens. (ARD)

Chancellor Merkel said the CSU, the Bavarian sister party to her CDU, performed poorly in Sunday’s state election because voters have lost faith in the government. A strong economy and employment aren’t enough.

The BVG, Berlin’s public transport authority, is reviewing vacant rooms in subway stations for their suitability as homeless shelters during the winter. Portable toilets would be placed in front of the rooms.

Ceconomy shares rose some 5.4% after the electronics retailer said CEO Pieter Haas would step down immediately and CFO Mark Frese would leave once a replacement is found. The resignations follow two profit warnings.

Police in Cologne freed a hostage and severely injured a suspect after a standoff at a pharmacy in the Cologne train station, police said. Afternoon train traffic at the main station was disrupted as police negotiated.

Porsche CFO Lutz Meschke said the sports carmaker is contemplating floating at least part of the company to raise funds. He said Porsche could be worth as much as €70 billion, though the company denies the speculation.

Drugmaker Bayer is contemplating outsourcing some of its R&D activities to save €1.2 billion annually in EBITDA. Savings will also come through synergies after it paid $63 billion for agrochemical company Monsanto.

Suspecting that software was used to manipulate emissions of 95,000 Opel vehicles, police in the central German state of Hesse raided the carmaker’s offices. Up until now, Opel was left out of Dieselgate investigations.

Porsche unveiled test versions of their new electric sports car Taycan at an event in Stuttgart. Sales will begin next year.

Germany’s federal, state and municipal governments had a surplus of €26.8 billion in the first half of 2018. This is four times the surplus reported in the first six months of 2017, the statistics office said.

About 4,000 RWE employees blocked the entrances to strip mines and power plants in the Rhineland to protest possible job cuts. A judge this month halted mining at Hambach Forest.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing Lega party, tweeted that the Bavarian election was a protest against Chancellor Merkel and the European Union.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said he would not resign as head of the Bavarian Christian Social Union after the party’s disastrous loss in Sunday’s state election.

The number of people who immigrated to Germany versus those who emigrated fell last year over 2016, according to the statistics office. Last year, a net 416,000 people moved to Germany compared to 500,000 in 2016 and 1.1 million in 2015.

Due to a technical error at the Frankfurt stock exchange, trading was delayed to about 10:15 am.

Berlin fintech Penta raised €7 million in a Series A fundraising round, primarily from Madrid venture capitalist Inception Capital. Penta specializes in bank accounts for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Productivity in German industrial manufacturing plants is lower than before 2009. Digital innovation hasn’t helped boost productivity and the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden outpace Germany. (Rheinische Post)

China’s HNA, which owns 7.6% of Deutsche Bank, is considering selling or listing its IT unit Pactera to pay off creditors. HNA bought Pactera for $675 million in 2016.

Clothing chain C&A cut its European board from seven members to three in order to become more competitive with rivals like Aldi, Primark and H&M.

Health Minister Jens Spahn has committed €115 million over four years to the World Health Organization. The contribution will be announced during the World Health Summit in Berlin.

An 8-year-old boy was killed in Berlin Sunday after being hit by a log that was thrown out of a 15-story-high apartment building. Police don’t know if it was an accident or intentional.

Popular discontent

Merkel’s Bavarian ally suffers historic loss in state vote

The Bavarian sister party of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats lost its majority in Germany’s wealthiest state. The election outcome will likely have repercussions for the chancellor’s coalition government.

in the bag

The rise and fall of Etienne Aigner, Germany’s luxury handbag brand

When Evi Brandl, one of Germany's richest women, bought luxury handbag-maker Etienne Aigner, it was in debt and mismanaged. Now, it’s thriving.

The new liberals?

The challenge of success for Germany’s Greens

The flip side of a rising Alternative for Germany (AfD) is a rising Green Party. The first stands for a closed Germany, the second for openness. But the Greens must change to live up to their new stature.

Wheeler-dealer

Bavaria’s Pexco speeds toward global e-bike market

Well connected and full of savvy, the heir to a venerable cycle dynasty sets out to grab a sizable chunk of the booming market for e-bikes, in Germany and beyond.

Editors’ Pick

Karstadt-Kaufhof

This man will save or bury Germany’s department stores

Retail and property magnate René Benko never finished high school, but has managed to accumulate a $4 billion fortune. Can his takeover of Kaufhof department stores save the sector from terminal decline?

Dive In

Insure thing

Insurtechs spurring on insurance giants

Digital insurance startups, known as insurtechs, are attracting record levels of investment. But the established industry names aren't worried – they see them as partners in their own modernization.

Pot, meet kettle

VW and RWE bosses trade blows over climate policy

In a newspaper interview, VW’s CEO criticized utility RWE’s efforts to expand a brown-coal strip mine as damaging the environment. The response from RWE’s boss: Physician, heal thyself.

Better than nothing

Germany mulls corporate tax relief to remain competitive

A new plan to shave tax expenses stops short of lowering the corporate rate, but may be the best Berlin can do.

Accounting tricks

Auditors take Berlin to task over budget

Germany's government is headed for another tidy budget surplus this year. Yet federal auditors are not at all happy with Berlin’s budget policy, as an internal report shows.

Equal measures

Germany, a global leader in addressing inequality

The country stretching from the Alps to the North Sea is ranked No. 2 in Oxfam's global inequality ranking, second only to Denmark. Do the Germans deserve the praise?

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

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

Rome alone

Germany’s finance minister slams Italian budget

Italy must deal with its huge pile of debt on its own and cannot expect to shift responsibility to its European partners, Olaf Scholz told Handelsblatt.

Breaking a barrier

BMW spends €3.6 billion to control Chinese joint venture

A milestone deal in China's heavily protected auto industry, the Germans' increased stake will form a handy buffer against Trump's trade tariffs.

SME Power

Mittelstand

Volkswagen, Bayer and Adidas are household names. But more than 95 percent of Germany's economy is generated by lesser-known firms that aren’t listed on the blue-chip DAX Index.

Pay to play

Golden visas sold by EU countries open the door to the criminal and corrupt

The practice of selling residence permits and even passports, while lucrative, is an invitation to criminal elements, international watchdogs say.

Broadband internet

Germany scrambles to meet newest target on digital infrastructure

Government and industry met in Berlin to break out of a syndrome that has hobbled much-needed investment for years. Germany is now far behind its European neighbors and that’s not likely to change soon.

Gold bricks

German real estate

Long tipped as a rising star in the European market, Germany has finally come into its own. Our series on residential property highlights some favorite cities for expats and investors alike.

Seeding startups

Germany, wary of falling behind, dips a toe into public venture capital

The German government seeks to invigorate its startup scene with a state-run venture capital firm, set up with funds from the Marshall Plan.

strategic partners

Daimler, Geely discussing joint venture in car-sharing

The maker of Mercedes cars is ready to announce the first concrete result of its strategic planning with its new Chinese shareholder.

Compromise, dammit!

Reach a Brexit deal or face disaster, German business warns

Alarmed at the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, Germany’s industry association appealed to Britain and the EU to hammer out a last-ditch deal at next week’s summit, warning that hundreds of thousands of jobs are at risk.

roller coaster

Stock market volatility shows fragility of German economy

Plunging share prices, multiple profit warnings and the waning DAX point to risks roiling Germany, Europe’s largest economy.

political chameleon

Ahead of state elections, watch for AfD’s socialism of fools

The Alternative for Germany, a party of the populist far-right, is spouting a spurious “ethno-socialism.” Its focus on patriotism and solidarity is a thinly-veiled bow to National Socialism.

Bertelsmann Foundation

Western democracies on the decline, including Germany

Governments excluding constituents from decision-making, populist polarization and leaders wary of the fourth estate are all chipping away at democracies the world over.

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