News Bites

VW’s truck unit Traton announced a strategic partnership with US software firm Solera to provide networking, fleet management, driving services and sales assistance in its vehicles. (DPA)

Former Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern is stepping down as opposition leader and leaving politics, the Social Democratic party said. Conservative Sebastian Kurz succeeded Mr. Kern as chancellor after winning the November election. (DPA)

The head of Germany’s domestic security agency, Hans-Georg Maassen, will be removed from that post after controversial remarks about the Chemnitz riots, and will now become a state secretary in the interior ministry.

Jet Deutschland, a chain of gas stations, is suing German banks for charging annual debit-card fees.

Nestlé is selling Gerber Life Insurance for $1.55 billion to Western & Southern Financial Group, a financial services provider from the US.

Three weeks after the deadly attack in Chemnitz that sparked riots, one of the suspects, a 22-year old Iraqi asylum seeker, has been released from custody after no concrete evidence could be found. (SZ, NDR)

Morphosys, a maker of cancer drugs, will expand its partnership with Leo Pharma, a Danish specialist in dermatology treatment, to develop therapies based on strings of amino acids known as peptides.

Shell opened the first gas station for LNG in Germany, in a pilot project allowing trucks to fill up on natural gas.

Two weeks ago, soldiers in Lower Saxony fired rockets from a helicopter as part of a weapons test. But the Bundeswehr hasn’t yet managed to extinguish the resulting fire that’s spreading across the moorland.

The CEO of insurer Swiss Re said after hurricane Florence in the US and typhoon Mangkhut in Asia, more storms are likely. Christian Mumenthaler said he expected worse to come.

Berlin allocated €5 million for safe houses and groups to protect women from domestic violence. The sum is set to increase to €30 million by 2020.

Italy’s foreign minister canceled talks with his Austrian counterpart over the suggestion that South Tyrolians could become dual nationals.

Thor, a US maker of caravans, will buy its German rival Hymer, for €2.1 billion. Family-owned Hymer had also considered a Frankfurt stock-market listing.

Germany’s failure to meet EU energy targets could cost taxpayers up to €1.2 billion in 2021. A study called this a serious risk for the budget as costs could rise to €60 billion by 2030 as Germany will have to buy CO2 emission rights from other European countries.

Zalando, the Berlin-based online fashion retailer, cut its guidance for the second time in two months, citing the summer heatwave. Its shares are down by 12%.

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, wants a special summit in November to address the stalling negotiations over Brexit and plans to propose this on Thursday at a meeting with Angela Merkel and other EU country leaders. (WiWo)

The European Central Bank unveiled its new €100 and €200 bills yesterday. They will go into circulation from May.

Berlin’s coal commission meets today to discuss the exit from coal power generation. RWE, a utility, said it opposed plans to shut coal-fired plants by 2035, saying they are needed to protect energy supply.

ProSieben Sat1 broke round for a new headquarters this week in Unterföhring, a suburb of Munich. The private TV channel is also building new studios, as it fights hefty rivals from Netflix to Google and Amazon.

Police raided homes in Hamburg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein, and arrested one suspect as part of investigations into riots during the G20 summit last year.

Germany’s last Trappist monastery will close this weekend. It opened in 1480 in Mariawald, in the Eifel hills in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Enercon, a German maker of wind turbines, cut 800 jobs.

Audi’s supervisory board will meet in the coming week to decide whether to keep boss Rupert Stadler, in custody as part of the investigations into Dieselgate.

The European Commission’s cartel regulator officially launched an investigation into whether carmakers including BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen colluded in using cheat devices to artificially lower emissions. They could face billion-euro fines.

German doctors treating Pyotr Verzilov, a member of Russia’s Pussy Riot being treated in Berlin’s Charité hospital, say it’s highly likely he was poisoned though as yet, no single substance has been identified. (DPA, NTV)

Clariant will create a joint venture with SABIC to make high-performance chemicals for use in electronics, health, space, cars and robotics. The Swiss chemicals company also appointed Ernesto Occhiello as its new CEO.

Allianz will sign a partnership with the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday and will be an official sponsor for the Winter Games in Beijing in 2022.

Berenberg, a private bank from Hamburg, will sell its Swiss subsidiary to a consortium. The Swiss offshoot will be named Bergos Berenberg in the future.

Bertelsmann, a German publishing company, will merge its customer service business with the Saham Group of Morocco and together they will invest in call centers.

Audi launched an electric SUV in San Francisco, Tesla’s home turf, in an electric challenge to Elon Musk’s company. The German maker of luxury cars said it will be easier to recharge the e-tron models thanks to a deal with Amazon.

The government launched a family housing subsidy, Baukindergeld, to promote home-buying and help parents buy their first home.

Leaders of Germany’s coalition parties will meet again today to consider whether to fire Hans-Georg Maassen, the chief of the domestic intelligence service who reportedly passed information illegally to the AfD.

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Daily Briefing

Job search at Audi…

... and BMW ain’t helping. Also: Will Merkel fire Maassen? And what she got up to in Algeria. And why Germans like the shiny new euro bills more than most others do. Our Daily Briefing for September 18, 2018.

navy yards, shipbuilding, german shipmakers

Ahoy there

Shipbuilders pleased as Germany’s new warships cost more than expected

The navy plans to spend more than €20 billion on ships over the next decade, with €5.3 billion alone for four new MKS 180 multiuse corvettes.

Andreas Tilp

The lawyer suing VW on behalf of 3,500 investors

The man taking on the world’s biggest carmaker helped implement a German version of class-action lawsuits. He has already successfully used the law against Deutsche Telekom and Hypo Real Estate.

china strategy

Beijing's Hegemony

The West lacks a strategy to compete with China

Europe must learn from China, which pushes its political ideology on the back of economic success, argues Sigmar Gabriel.

Editors’ Pick

Business Leadership

The German soccer coach vs the American football coach

Germans and Americans have very different expectations about leadership. That often leads to problems when they work together in business, explains an American consultant living in Germany, in the fifth part of a series.

Dive In

future scenarios

Deutsche Bank’s playbook of possible options

At a strategy meeting over the weekend, executives at Germany’s largest bank mulled a takeover, a merger or a return to its roots. But Deutsche has a stack of homework to do, meaning there are no easy solutions in sight.

Sticky transition

Too many life insurers still caught in interest-rate trap

Germany's life insurers have made little headway in offsetting low-interest rates with smarter investments, a new study finds. Only one in four of the big companies is on sound economic footing.

Digital slowpoke

German business sounds the alarm on 5G networks

More than 20 German CEOs are calling for faster development of 5G networks. Without a comprehensive infrastructure, Germany’s international competitiveness will evaporate, they say.

New Hires

Foreigners are feeding Germany’s jobs boom

International workers are helping employment to flourish, and businesses want the country’s new immigration law to keep it that way.

The virtual you

German online ID startups ready to take on US titans

Three startups plan to snatch a slice of the growing online identification market from Facebook and Google. They’re banking on Germany’s reputation for data privacy.

Mr. LeFloid, please

ProSiebenSat.1 tunes in LeFloid Youtube series commissioned by Google

Pro Sieben Sat.1 has just produced a paid-content Youtube series commissioned by Google. It’s part of a strategy to lessen its dependence on conventional TV advertising — and to square up to Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Women in business

Gender quotas make an impact in the boardroom

Germany’s gender representation law is starting to bite, with significantly more women on company boards than three years ago. But senior management remains overwhelmingly male.

Tenants' rights

Germany tightens rent controls amid housing shortage

A new law is set to increase rental price transparency, cut opportunities to hike rents after renovations and places the burden of proof in disputes on landlords.

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.

Das Monopoly Game

Karstadt-Kaufhof is a big, fat real estate deal

Whether the merger of department stores Karstadt and Galeria Kaufhof succeeds or not, property tycoon René Benko has already hit the jackpot by yet again acquiring prime German real estate.

A Coalition Divided

Controversy over Germany’s domestic security chief Maassen escalates

Alleged right-wing sympathies in Germany's security chief Hans-Georg Maassen are driving Berlin’s coalition parties further apart amid deep divisions over immigration.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

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

Merkel vs SPD

Syria intervention becomes Merkel’s latest coalition headache

The latest in a succession of disputes within the German government underscores the chancellor’s weakened grip on power as coalition parties draw conflicting red lines.

Idlib

To bomb or not to bomb Assad

As the Butcher of Syria prepares to overwhelm Idlib, Germany faces a dilemma: Should it join its allies in punishing Assad if he again uses chemical weapons? The arguments are complicated, the answer is not.

Enough is enough

ECB halts a major economic stimulus, and no one blinks

The European Central Bank is pulling down the curtain on its controversial bond-buying program at the end of 2018. Some will be saying good riddance, as the scheme has shown mixed results.

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.

Late adapters

Tesla’s German competitors get serious

Mercedes, Audi and BMW will present new electric cars that should narrow the gap with Tesla. None of the models, however, is expected to be the much-hoped-for “Tesla killer.”

Burning issue

Germany doesn’t need Trump’s gas

The US government is trying to push Germany into buying US liquefied natural gas rather than keeping its Russian pipelines open. But there’s little logic in Germany doing so.

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