News Bites

Soccer star Bastian Schweinsteiger, currently playing for Chicago Fire in the US, became the face of a new campaign to promote Germany’s gambling halls, home to almost 300,000 slot machines nationwide.

Shares in Fresenius Medical Care, the world’s biggest specialist for dialysis treatment, dropped 19% after it cut growth forecasts for full-year revenue and earnings. Its US business, its single biggest market, isn’t doing well. Fresenius Holding dropped 12%.

General Electric will likely trump Siemens in winning an Iraqi government contract worth up to €13 billion after the US administration pushed Baghdad to favor GE. The US company is expected to win a large share of the contract. (FT)

The German Finance Ministry, led by Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, has drafted details of a “European Unemployment Stabilization Fund,” which EU states would finance with contributions. It would loan money to national unemployment funds in times of economic crisis.

The Economics Ministry, led by Angela Merkel’s conservative ally Peter Altmaier, rejected the plan. In the end, Berlin wants to agree with the French government on the proposal to make the 19-nation euro zone more crisis-proof following the 2011-2012 debt bailouts of Greece and other countries.

Germany has the third-best competitive economy in the world after the US and Singapore, scoring high on the factors economic stability, health, infrastructure and innovation capability, which all support productivity. The rankings didn’t change over 2017. (WEF)

European car sales fell 23% in September to 1.1 million vehicles as stricter emissions tests came into force. In August, sales had risen 31% year-on-year. In the first nine months, unit sales were up 2.3%.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said he would name a new domestic spy chief by early November to replace Hans-Georg Maassen, who was ousted after remarks questioning right-wing disturbances in Chemnitz. (Reuters)

Siemens and Iberdrola said they named David Mesonero, son-in-law of Iberdrola chief Ignacio Galan, CFO of their wind energy joint venture, Siemens Gamesa. Markus Tacke, a former Siemens executive, remains CEO, though Iberdrola claimed the right to name candidates to that position. (Reuters)

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer brushed aside calls for his resignation in the wake of the CSU’s election losses in Bavaria on Sunday, though he admitted his combative style may have caused harm.

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.

The Social Democrats have decided on their top candidate for next year’s European elections: Justice Minister Katarina Barley will officially present her bid later this week.

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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.

Editors’ Pick

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.

Dive In
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.

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.

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.

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