News Bites

European cities, from Berlin to Barcelona, are imposing increasingly draconian restriction on Airbnb rentals, accusing the US home-sharing platform of exacerbating housing shortages and encouraging tax evasion.

The Bundesbank approved the government’s nomination of Sabine Mauderer for the vacant position on the central bank’s executive board. The 48-year-old director of development bank KfW will be the second woman on the Bundesbank board. (Reuters)

Heiko Maas, Germany’s foreign minister, expressed his sorrow and concern for those affected by the collapse of the motorway bridge outside Genoa.

The Aquarius refugee ship will dock in Malta after some EU countries agreed to accept the 141 people rescued off the Libyan coast.

The UK exports 45 million packs of medicine to the EU each month and after Brexit, Europe could face shortages of up to 108 drugs, according to the EMA chief, Guido Rasi. Of these, 88 treat people and 20 help animals.

A souped-up Volkswagen Jetta will try to beat land-speed records in a race in Utah in August. Its makers hope the vehicle’s 500-hp motor will drive it up to 335 kilometers per hour (208 mph).

Wirecard, a fintech handling online and card payments, surpassed Deutsche Bank’s market cap with a value of €21.3 billion ($24.3 billion). It is expected to join the DAX, Germany’s blue-chip stock index, next month.

Tourism to Berlin has increased 4% this year, compared to last year. Most travelers come from Germany, followed by the UK and the US.

The EU will escalate its infringement process against Warsaw’s supreme court reforms which have been criticized as politically motivated, and a “purge”.

Wolves are making a comeback in Germany, according to monitors, who counted 60 packs, 18 pairs and 2 lone wolves between May 2017 and April 2018.

Ahead of its merger with ThyssenKrupp, Tata Steel is profiting from higher prices of raw materials. In the second quarter, Tata’s ebitda rose 42% to €205 million compared to the previous quarter.

Deutsche Telekom called on 1&1, a rival, to share investments in a fiberglass network to provide faster internet for 5 million users in Germany. (Funke Mediengruppe)

Diebold Nixdorf, a German-American maker of ATMs, is open for buyers. NCR, a rival, is interested, as is Bain Capital. (CNBC)

In northern Italy, a highway bridge partially collapsed after a storm. Dozens are feared dead.

Bankrupt carrier Air Berlin can repay all of the €150 million bridge loan it received from the German government, its administrator said. There were fears in spring that only half of the sum could be repaid.

In a first post-holiday event, Chancellor Angela Merkel will host a “citizens’ dialogue” in Jena, eastern Germany. Watchers are wondering whether the talk, officially about “the future of Europe,” will also address the migration questions which are dividing her party.

Economics Minister Peter Altmaier will present a plan to speed up the expansion of Germany’s electricity network. It needs 7,700 kilometers of new lines, but only 1,000 are in place so far.

Parent VW is in a quandary as Bentley’s profit margins fall, after heavy capital spending on new technologies. Porsche could be given greater control over the British luxury brand.

Judges in Münster are considering whether to demand the return of Sami A., after he was mistakenly deported despite a court order. Suspected of having worked for Osama bin Laden, he claimed he would face torture in Tunisia.

Consumer prices rose 2% this July compared to this time last year, thanks to higher energy prices. Food prices also increased by an above-average 2.6%.

RWE announced ebitda fell €300 million to €1.1 billion in the first half year, as analysts expected. Germany’s biggest electricity producer confirmed it would pay a higher dividend for 2018.

South Korean regulators banned 20,000 BMW vehicles after 27 engine fires occurred during the first half of the year. Last week, BMW apologized and recalled 106,000 diesels.

Swiss Life improved profits for the half year after expanding its asset management and services divisions. The Zurich-based life insurer has also appointed a new CFO, Matthias Aellig. (Reuters)

Bonn, Essen, Mannheim, Reutlingen and Herrenberg submitted proposals to improve local transport as part of a government-funded project to improve air quality.

A driver was arrested in London after crashing through a barrier near the House of Parliament this morning. Several pedestrians were injured.

Garth Ritchie’s contract will not be extended after it ends in December. He is Deutsche Bank’s investment banking boss. (Börsen-Zeitung)

Vienna is the most livable city, according to a poll in The Economist. The top 10 had previously included Hamburg, but the only German city lost its spot in the latest ranking.

Denmark will build a 70-kilometer border fence to Germany, fearful of African swine fever that may be carried by wild boar. (Spiegel)

Marcel Fratzscher, the head of Germany’s DIW economic institute, called on the IMF to intervene and avert a crisis in Turkey as the currency falls. (Passauer Neue Presse)

The German economy expanded by 0.5% in the second quarter of 2018, its 16th consecutive quarter of growth. (DPA)

Know more with the least amount of effort by signing up for our news bites newsletter. Our digestible nuggets of news are delivered once daily. Make sure to scroll to the bottom to enjoy the cheesiest puns in Berlin.

Daily Briefing

Bayer: has glyphosate, needs Aspirin

Bayer’s glyphosate crash; VW’s Bentley problem; the worsening Turkish crisis; and Merkel’s next meeting with Putin: Our daily briefing for August 14.

Slow lane

VW’s Bentley gets left behind as a luxury car cash cow

The classic British brand is losing money, prompting its parent, Volkswagen to tie it more closely to the moneymaking Porsche.

Poisonous effects

Bayer stock craters after US cancer verdict against Roundup

Alarmed investors wipe €10 billion off Bayer’s market value after a US jury awarded $289 million to a plaintiff who claimed Monsanto’s glyphosate product caused his cancer.

Deutsche Bank

Insiders buying shares in beleaguered German companies

A Deutsche Bank supervisory board member is the first insider to buy shares in the company in seven years — and he bought €1 million worth.

Editors’ Pick

off the charts

Companies flee stock markets, preferring private equity

Stock markets are becoming less and less important for companies, with fewer flotations and more delistings. That's a headache for investors, and for the economy.

Dive In

Not so cheap

German firms face staffing woes as Chinese labor costs skyrocket

Rapidly rising wages are an increasingly significant cost factor for German firms in China as competition for qualified staff heats up.

A sea of polluters

Shipping industry struggles to reach 2020 emissions targets

Maritime traffic is one of the worst offenders for air and water pollution, as well as CO2 emissions. The industry faces the challenge of meeting strict new regulations in less than two years' time.

New bestie

Spain’s Sánchez gives Merkel badly-needed backing on migration

With immigration critics challenging her authority in Germany and across the EU, Chancellor Angela Merkel found an ally during an informal meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

Spinning outwards

Frankfurt tests the limits of trendy real estate

To relieve a housing crunch, Germany's banking capital attempts to recast its outskirts as the place to be. Despite fears, though, Brexit has yet to stoke extra demand.

Self-made man

The wolf of Germany’s insurance brokerage business is down but not out

Mehmet Göker, the son of Turkish immigrants, became a millionaire entrepreneur in his 20s before it all went wrong. From the safety of his exile on the Turkish Riviera, the disgraced sales guru gives get-rich seminars while German courts want him tried for fraud.

Thirty Years' War

Lessons of the Westphalian Peace for the Middle East

Four centuries after catastrophe in central Europe, German scholars and policymakers revisit the Thirty Years' War to find lessons for today’s Syria.

Diplomatic License

Our honorary diplomat in Düsseldorf-Mörsenbroich

Honorary diplomatic titles sound like something out of a Ruritanian comedy. But demand remains strong, as Germany’s 500 honorary consuls show.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

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

Treading water

ThyssenKrupp’s weak results, future plans fail to ignite investor enthusiasm

Interim CEO Guido Kerkhoff would like to keep the top job but his tepid strategy did not address activist investor concerns that drove the former CEO and chairman out of their jobs.


Immigrants’ benefit claims for children in home country raise German concerns

A sharp increase places burdens on cities, while providing incentives for fathers to leave families at home and seek work in Germany.


When German companies talk about ‘diversity,’ they only mean women

Adding women to executive boards does not a diversity-management strategy make.

Getting smart

German banking startups, stalwarts betting on artificial intelligence

Machine learning will make banking easier before it makes it better, say German fintechs and banks.

Hot Button Issues