News Bites

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)

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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.

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.

Daily briefing

Germany leads innovation ranking. No one is more surprised than us

Innovation nation, who, us? Meanwhile, we're busy mulling Moscow as a new BFF, and Berlin's (unpopular) European idea. Here's our daily briefing on October 17, 2018.

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.

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
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.

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.

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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