News Bites

Activist investor RBR Capital wants to increase its stake in Credit Suisse to more than 1 billion Swiss francs ($1 billion) from CHF100 million as it attempts to break Switzerland’s second-largest bank into three units. (Reuters)

Members of Postbank’s union voted to strike ahead of talks Monday. The employees want no layoffs before 2022 and a 5% raise as Postbank is integrated into its parent, Deutsche Bank, which is offering layoffs after 2019 and a 2.5% pay hike.

A court in Cologne awarded compensation to former shareholders of Postbank, who believe they got a raw deal when the retail bank was taken over by Deutsche Bank. The ruling, which Deutsche is appealing, could cost as much as €3 billion if it holds up.

German wage earners may pay €1.3 billion less to national pension funds next year thanks to near full employment and rising wages. (Reuters)

Insurance giant Swiss Re estimated that this year’s hurricanes and earthquake in Mexico caused up to $95 billion (€80 billion) of damage. The firm will pay out $3.6 billion in the third quarter.

Morale at Commerzbank is sinking, insiders say, as weak earnings and sluggish investment spur takeover talk. Staff is losing faith that CEO Martin Zielke can turn things around.

After a visit to Frankfurt, Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein tweeted that he expects to “be spending a lot more time there,” adding the hashtag #Brexit.

Cashless transactions in Germany grew by 7% per year between 2010 and 2016, one of the slowest rises in the developed world, according to the Boston Consulting Group.

Economists expect the ECB to cut back euro-zone bond-buying to €20 billion ($23.6 billion) a month at a meeting on Thursday, effective from next year. (Reuters)

Frankfurt schools

Frankfurt Braces For the Brexit Bankers With Kids

Thousands of bankers moving from London to Germany’s financial capital will stretch its housing market and international schools.

Coalition Negotiations

Fighting Over the Top Prize

With coalition talks underway this week, a battle is raging over which party should get the coveted finance ministry being vacated by veteran Wolfgang Schäuble.

Börse boss

When Will He Go?

New revelations this week make the departure of embattled Deutsche Börse CEO Carsten Kengeter more a question of when, not if.

Takeover Target

Commerzbank on Tenterhooks

Morale is at a low point at Germany’s second-largest bank as weak earnings and sluggish investment make for a downward spiral and spur takeover talk.

Allez Homeowners

German Real-Estate Goes Gallic

With a reform-minded French president in office, Vonovia is betting on a privatization wave like the one that made it Germany’s largest landlord. Teaming up with French peer SNI will help.

Swiss accused

The Spy Who Taxed Us

An alleged Swiss agent accused of spying on a German tax evasion probe has been offered a deal in exchange for a confession. But the move could further strain relations between the two countries over banking secrecy.

Handelsblatt Interview

When is the Time to Wind Down?

European Central Bank council member Ardo Hansson tells Handelsblatt that reducing the level of asset purchases won't necessarily mean the end of the ECB's easy monetary policy.

CHINESE TAKEOVERS

The Dragon’s Return

After a temporary slowdown, Chinese interest in European companies is growing again, with a view to accessing cutting-edge expertise and technology.

City Risks

Pay Up, UBS

Like many cities, Leipzig lost hundreds of millions in bad bets during the financial crisis. A London appeals court has held Switzerland's UBS responsible – despite at least one local executive sharing the blame.

Wealth generation

Down on Their Assets

New figures show that while many older Germans are raking in cash merely by owning property and shares, the asset-less younger generation is being condemned to a life without security.

Corporate Globalization

The DAX’s Foreign Invasion

New research shows that foreigners now own more than half of the stock in Germany's top 30 listed companies. And it seems that the greater the foreign-ownership, the better the performance.

Trade Surplus

The Neverending Story

The dispute about Germany’s outsize trade surplus shows no sign of ending and Germany risks provoking unilateral US action.

EU Regulation

In Banking, Fintechs Coming of Age

In a further ripple of banking disruption, a new EU-wide standard for licensing fintechs is set to slash red tape.

German finance policy

The Anchor Starts to Drag

According to IMF figures, global growth is picking up. Yet so are the risks to the banking system and financial markets, and now even Germany has become a source of uncertainty as it struggles to form a new government.

Basel IV

A New Pain Threshold For Banks

International regulators have adopted new rules on capital that could make getting a loan more difficult.

Bank closures

The Problem with Cutting Branches

A Handelsblatt survey reveals that an increase in branch closures is causing a backlash among customers of Germany's big banks.

Brexit Benefits

Offering a Piece of the Pie

Deutsche Börse’s Eurex clearing unit is hoping to entice derivatives clearing away from London’s LCH.

Energy Turnaround

Wind-Turbine Investors in the Doldrums

Germany's three largest publicly-traded wind-power companies may have lost their drive, but some analysts recommend hanging onto the stock.

Deutsche Bank

Gunfight at the OK Corral?

The new controversy over shareholder HNA is more about tension between the chairman and the CEO than it is about the Chinese conglomerate.

ESM Reform

Saving for a Very Rainy Day

The euro zone's €500 billion bail-out fund may be replaced by a US-style hybrid: a last-ditch lender and administrator of jobless benefits. With the troika crumbling, it will be sorely needed.

ACTIVIST INVESTORS

Unlock That Value Now!

Hedge funds and investment firms are increasingly targeting German firms, bringing profits for investors, but major headaches for managers.

Teutonic Billionaires

Germany's 10 Richest Families

They were rich last year. Heck, they were rolling in it a decade ago, and now they're even richer. Meet Germany's 10 wealthiest individuals and their heirs, according to an annual Manager Magazin survey.

Policy Watershed

The Art of Imprecision

Mario Draghi wants to keep his options open for ending the ECB's bond-buying program, without appearing to dither.

Stock Surge

DAX Resumes Bull Run

Germany’s DAX stock market index has confounded analysts by reversing recent losses and hitting a new record high on Wednesday. It’s expected to keep on rising, but risks remain.

Corporate Taxes

Joining the Race to the Bottom

US plans to drastically cut the corporate tax rate put pressure on Germany to follow suit as developed countries fight for jobs and investment.