News Bites

After the SPD’s poor showing in the Bavarian election Sunday, former leader Sigmar Gabriel urged his party not to break up the coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.

DAX stocks are the cheapest they’ve been in six years as falling share prices mean the average price-earnings ratio for shares in Germany’s 30 blue chips has dropped to 12.4, down from 15 in January.

Grid operators Tennet, Gasunie and Thyssengas plan to build a 100 megawatt plant to store renewable electricity by producing hydrogen or methane gas to open in 2022.

Up to 2.5% of Germany’s surface would be needed in order to build all the wind farms and solar panels needed to supply the entire country with renewable energy, according to a study by environmental group WWF.

Business-to-business insurance group Talanx downgraded its profit outlook for 2018 to €700 million from €850 million due to losses in its industrial property insurance division. Shares in the SDAX-listed company dropped 5% on Tuesday.

Corporate culture in the financial sector still needs to improve, said Danièle Nouy, the head of the ECB’s bank supervision: “The banking business allows many people to get rich at others’ expense.”

Mesale Tolu, a German journalist who was jailed in Turkey for seven months, wants to attend her trial in Istanbul in person to show she is not intimidated.

A Berlin court ruled Tuesday that trading in cryptocurrencies in Germany doesn’t require a banking license and is not illegal, overturning an earlier ruling.

Germany wants a fair deal with Britain but is anxious about Brexit negotiations. Germany’s European minister, Michael Roth, said the UK should try harder: “It isn’t a game.”

The public prosecutor will appeal the acquittal of two people in the 2009 collapse of Cologne’s municipal archives. Serious mistakes in a new subway tunnel caused the building to cave in, killing two.

The Bundeswehr has fired 200 employees since 2008 because of their extreme right-wing views. (RP)

The Italian government approved a controversial 2019 budget bill a few hours before an EU deadline. Brussels and Berlin have voiced criticism of Rome’s upcoming budget because it widened Italy’s public deficit.

The current discussion about air pollution in Germany is “almost hysterical” and the campaign against cars is “life-threatening” for the industry, Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess complained at a trade fair in Wolfsburg on Tuesday.

Audi has just agreed to pay a €800 million fine to end its chapter of Dieselgate.

Germany deported an accomplice of the 9/11 terrorists to his native Morocco after he served 12 years in jail in Hamburg for helping organize the 2001 Al Qaeda attacks in the US. Mounir El Motassadeq always insisted he did not know about the terrorist plot.

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Linde and Praxair submitted a packet of asset sales and rules of conduct they have agreed on in order to win approval from US antitrust authorities for their merger with the deadline for approval coming next week. (Reuters)

BMW is joining a consortium for recycling electric car batteries to ensure they remain sustainable. Other members are Belgian recycler Umicore and Swedish battery maker Northvolt. (Reuters)

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.

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.

Daily Briefing

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome: Opel joins the Dieselgate club

A setback for Opel’s comeback, while we're stuck with a Bavarian contrarian. There's more excitement at Venus, meanwhile. Here's our daily briefing on October 16, 2018.

Empowering Europe

Can euro-zone reform help contain Trump?

If the EU is serious about making the euro a global currency, the trading bloc needs a single finance minister. This would be a bright response to Washington's economic warfare, writes a leading German economist.

Poacher turns gamekeeper

From Goldman Sachs to Germany’s Finance Ministry

Deputy finance minister Jörg Kukies has had a fascinating career: From motorbike-riding Social Democrat, to Goldman Sachs banker with a million dollar salary and, now, back to politics again.

digital desire

High-tech toys dominate at Berlin sex industry trade fair

New sex toys on display at Berlin’s annual Venus trade fair promise to bring you pleasure by integrating with your phone, your virtual assistant and your long-distance lover. They also promise to work on the “orgasm gap.”

Editors’ Pick

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.

Dive In

Brexit tax

Mittelstand blindsided by Brexit tax bill

As soon as the UK leaves the EU, German businesses with British-based owners could be hit with a massive tax bill, thanks to an obscure law named Lex Horten.

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.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

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

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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