Morning Briefing Global Edition

An Earthworm in the Rain

Wet Sidewalk
Sometimes you feel like a sidewalk worm in a rainstorm.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    My Handelsblatt Morning Briefing Global Edition gives you an overview of the most important news from Germany and Europe – in a concise, two-minute read.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The head of Germany’s blue-chip companies earn and average 54-times more than their employees.
    • Air Berlin made a 2015 loss of €446 million, €70 million more than the previous year.
    • Deutsche Bank was involved in a global interest rate manipulation scandal, which led to a $2.5 billion penalty.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

The free market is the only economic system that generates prosperity. A billion people have been able to wrench themselves out of poverty since the turn of the millennium.

But the free market can’t mask the blemishes of our economic model: speculative bubbles, crises, corruption, tax evasion and underhanded ploys to get rich quick. Handelsblatt Global Edition today analyzes capitalism’s seven deadly sins, warts and all.

 

If it wasn’t clear before, it is now: Air Berlin needs to make an emergency landing. Germany’s No. 2 carrier just reported another year of mounting losses and debt, and fewer passengers. The 2015 loss of €446 million was €70 million more than a year before – and the seventh straight year of red ink.

Equity was sucked dry three years ago and the only ones keeping the airline aloft now are its banks. But for how much longer? Jet-powered vultures are hanging over Air Berlin.

 

“You’re probably on the right track if you feel like a sidewalk worm during a rainstorm.”

Larry Page, Google co-founder

Georg Thoma, the Deutsche Bank supervisory board member in charge of “integrity,” unexpectedly stepped down following vocal criticism from fellow board members for going after its chairman, Paul Achleitner. His detractors said he took his probe into an alleged cover-up of an interest-rate manipulation scandal by Achleitner and others too far.

Handelsblatt Global Edition spoke to experts about what his departure means for the bank and investor confidence. Maybe the words of Google co-founder Larry Page can offer solace: “You’re probably on the right track if you feel like a sidewalk worm during a rainstorm.”

 

Revenue and operating profit? Doubled. Share price? Up 115 percent: Karl-Ludwig Kley, the head of German drug giant Merck, can revel in a job well done as he leaves the company. But Kley isn’t the shy, retiring type.

In a conversation with Handelsblatt, he compared his achievement to a cathedral: He built the framework; now his successor must slap the dome on top. We didn’t overlook the weaknesses in his growth strategy – namely €13 billion in debt. A must read for the guy building the cupola.

 

Boehner may think Cruz is cloven-footed, but when a man of his caliber has no filter, the only thing going to hell in a handbasket is the last bit of respect the rest of the world has for American politics.

Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers bids farewell to his shareholders today. At the company’s general meeting he’ll delight them one last time with solid figures.

Dekkers turned the company into the most valuable blue chip in the DAX Index. With his strategic prowess and charm, the Dutchman with a U.S. passport had no trouble winning over shareholders and staff. It’s no exaggeration to say: At Bayer they not only value him; they worship him.

 

And now step right up for the next spectacle in the U.S. election sideshow.

During an event at Stanford University, former House speaker John Boehner called Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh.” And he didn’t stop there: “I have never worked with a more miserable son of a b***h in my life.” Cruz responded by accusing Boehner of letting his “inner Trump come out.”

Boehner found no kind words for Hillary Clinton either, mocking her with the statement: “Oh I’m a woman, vote for me.” But he’s A-OK with Trump, who he described as his golf buddy.

Boehner may think Cruz is cloven-footed, but when a man of his caliber has no filter, the only thing going to hell in a handbasket is the last bit of respect the rest of the world has for American politics.

 

My Handelsblatt Morning Briefing Global Edition is an e-mail newsletter sent to your inbox at around 6 a.m. each weekday Wall Street time. It gives you the most important news from Germany and Europe. To reach me: g.steingart@vhb.de

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