News Bites

Germany’s drug czar, Marlene Mortler, said the country’s biggest addiction threat is not opioids, cocaine or cannabis, but nicotine. She called for a ban on outdoor advertising for tobacco as Germany is the only EU country that still allows it. (Deutsche Welle)

Commerzbank will overhaul its bonus plan for employees, scrapping the individual components of most German bankers. These bonuses will be tied to group and business developments only. Most staffers approve of the idea.

With support from France, Germany has proposed OECD partners to introduce a minimum corporate tax worldwide to mitigate tax evasion. In the medium term, the tax could replace a “Google tax,” which the EU wants to levy.

Berlin and German carmakers want to keep the topic of city diesel bans off the election campaign list in the state of Hesse. But once VW, Daimler and BMW reach agreement on whether and how to repair older diesel cars, another summit with the government could take place.

The Federal Trade Commission on Wedneday told Praxair it would approve its merger with Linde after the pair agreed to divest more assets than planned. The FTC’s is the final hurdle. (managermagazin)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban will back conservative German politician Manfred Weber to replace European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker next year. Weber voted in favor of an EU censure of Hungary for its immigration policies.

Car rental company Sixt said third-quarter pretax profit jumped 27%, and raised its full-year earnings forecast to “more than 10%” above €287.3 million in 2017. The shares rose as much as 8.9%.

Cologne prosecutors have added Banco Santander to the list of banks it’s investigating in connection with the high-profile “cum ex” tax avoidance scheme that cost Germany €10 billion in unearned tax refunds.

Deutsche Bank is one of seven banks launching a platform that will allow companies to post their trade financing needs and then let the partners bid for their business. The venture should streamline the process.

Federal authorities are investigating a fire at a Turkish restaurant in Chemnitz because of a potential racist motive. Residents noticed the fire after 2 a.m. Thursday. None of the building’s 17 residents were harmed.

Gerry Weber’s outgoing CEO, Ralf Weber, said the 6,500 employees of the troubled fashion company will face “deep cuts.” A review said the company has a future, but only with restructuring. The shares gained as much as 17.4%.

Chancellor Merkel should renew her support for Bundesbank head Jens Weidmann to replace Mario Draghi atop the European Central Bank, Austrian ECB council member Ewald Novotny said, as Germany is Europe’s biggest economy. (Oberösterreichische Nachrichten)

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The CSU will enter talks with the Free Voters party to form a coalition government in the state of Bavaria. The conservative CSU lost its absolute majority during Sunday’s state election.

European governments were defrauded of €55 billion in unearned tax rebates as part of a high-profile dividend stripping scheme known as “cum-ex.” That’s 10 times the estimate by the German finance ministry. (ARD)

The Green Party’s popularity is growing in the German state of Hesse, set for government elections on October 28. The latest poll shows the CDU with 26%, followed by the Greens (22%), Social Democrats (20%) and the Alternative for Germany (12%). (ZDF)

Norway apologized for mishandling as many as 50,000 women who had relationships with German soldiers during the Nazi occupation from 1940 to 1945. The women, known as “German girls,” were often arrested, stripped of their Norwegian citizenship and deported.

Residential building permits rose 1.9% in the first eight months of the year. A 7.7% increase in multi-family permits, as well as a 3.8% bump for duplexes, offset a 1.2% drop in single-family residences.

British companies are hoarding imported items in hopes of avoiding supply shortages and sharply higher duties when the UK leaves the European Union, credit insurer Euler Hermes said. (Reuters)

French razor, pen and lighter maker BIC has made a formal complaint to the European Commission about France and Germany because 86% of all lighters sold in the countries don’t meet security norms.

Construction materials maker HeidelbergCement warned that full-year adjusted ebitda would drop, after earlier forecasting an increase. Rising energy costs and bad weather in the US are to blame. The shares lost as much as 8.8% on the news.

German fintech startups have raised record capital this year, bringing in €778 million in the first nine months, according to a Comdirect study. They raised just €713 million in all of 2017. (DPA)

Prosecutors are investigating whether Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen broke labor laws as part of a scandal involving millions in improperly awarded consulting contracts. Consultants may have effectively worked as full-time ministry employees. (Spiegel)

The business-friendly Free Democrats want a law requiring airlines to take out insurance guaranteeing return flights to passengers stranded by an insolvency like that of Air Berlin. Politicians fear competition could spark more insolvencies.

VW said it plans to offer up to €10,000 to German owners of its older diesels, including models of Audi, Seat and Skoda, to turn in their cars to be scrapped. (DPA)

SAP said its cloud revenues grew 41% in the third quarter as its revamp gathers pace. The business software giant raised this year’s growth forecast to 7.5% to 8.5% for sales, and to 9.5% to 11% for operating profit.

Daily Briefing

Fat chance of a euro-zone unemployment insurance fund

Peter Altmaier nixes Olaf Scholz’s idea for euro-zone reform; Siemens may lose a huge contract to GE; and German spies foil an attack by the Islamic State. Our Daily Briefing for October 18.

Good or bad?

For and against an EU unemployment fund

Two Handelsblatt writers debate the merits of an EU fund to support the jobless during a crisis, a proposal put forward by Germany’s Social Democrat finance minister but rejected by the ruling conservatives.

industrial espionage

Germany isn’t concerned about spy chips – but it should be

Governments worldwide are acting to protect their IT from snooping technology hidden in hardware. Berlin’s lack of angst is worrying.

porsche taycan electric car to take on tesla


Porsche readies all-electric Taycan to take on Tesla

Germany’s iconic sports carmaker will start mass production of the Taycan next year in hopes it can make inroads in the global electric car market.

Editors’ Pick

Mutt and Jeff

Jobless insurance highlights ‘rivalries over issues’ culture in Berlin

Economics Minister Peter Altmaier and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz personify the different objectives of the two parties in Germany’s fraying grand coalition.

Dive In

euro-zone reform

Finance Minister Scholz wants pan-European jobless fund

Troubled countries could borrow money to pay unemployment benefits, rather than dig around in their own treasuries to find the cash during times of crisis.

CSU seehofer bavarian vote

heart full of hope

Seehofer sidesteps responsibility for Bavarian debacle

CSU leadership has followed Chancellor Merkel’s example and ignored the parliamentary tradition of taking personal responsibility for party electoral defeats.

rewe ceo grocery stores germany eu

unfair play

Edeka and Rewe object to EU farmer protection proposal

German cooperative grocers Rewe and Edeka say amendments to a new EU directive designed to protect farmers would undermine their business models.

Syrian refugee

Cologne officials hesitate to label attack ‘terrorism’

A suspect who tried to set a McDonald's on fire and then took a woman hostage at a train station claimed to be a terrorist. But police said the 55-year-old immigrant suffered from mental problems and was drunk.

bavaria fallout

Germany’s Social Democrats are history, and that’s a bad thing

Whatever your politics, the downfall of the SPD is a loss to the political landscape. Sadly, it seems inevitable, writes a Handelsblatt correspondent.

russia, nord stream pipeline

firm friends

Why we need to reach out to Russia

It’s wrong to demonize Russia and its government. Economic cooperation and partnership — without avoiding criticism — are the way forward, writes a German state premier.

audi dieselgate fines settlement

Costly absolution

Audi pays €800 million fine to settle Dieselgate probe

VW’s luxury car business will pay a heavy penalty to end the authorities' investigation into Audi’s manipulation of diesel emissions. It won’t be the last fine Volkswagen has to pay.

outgoing beiersdorf ceo

Global Brand

New Beiersdorf CEO is a move for continuity

Beiersdorf, the maker of Nivea and La Prairie, saw its share price double in the last CEO's tenure. The new boss, recruited from the executive board, could take the company to the next level.

life insurance in germany

millennial market

Finally, German insurers offer flexible life insurance for younger customers

Life insurance policies that let clients change and suspend premium payments have been available in other countries for years, but they don’t come cheap.

Emissions cheating

Dieselgate catches up to troubled Opel

Prosecutors raided the French-owned carmaker looking for evidence of emissions fraud, threatening massive recalls and thwarting Opel's comeback attempt.

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.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

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

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.”

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.

SME Power


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.

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.

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.

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