Morning Briefing Global Edition

Buh-bye €500 Bill

Making briefcases just a bit less colorful. Source: Getty Images
Making briefcases just a bit less colorful.
  • 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 ECB governing council will decide on May 4 how to phase out the €500 bill.
    • BASF CEO Kurt Bock has told Handelsblatt he is prepared to make major acquisitions.
    • The union Verdi represents 2.1 million public sector employees.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

The U.S. election primary season isn’t over yet, but it effectively ended yesterday. Hillary Clinton took four big states, leaving only Rhode Island to Bernie Sanders. She is now 88 percent of the way to the Democratic nomination.

Donald Trump cleaned up in five states. When the results were announced, he was characteristically modest: “I consider myself the presumptive nominee. As far as I’m concerned, it’s over.” That’s one thing we agree with him on: If he’s the nominee, it is over – for the GOP.

 

There may be change in the air at Deutsche Bank. Star lawyer Georg Thoma was brought on the supervisory board by chairman Paul Achleitner to clean up the bank’s act. Apparently, he’s doing too good a job.

A lot of his colleagues feel Thoma has been too zealous pursing the truth as head of the bank’s “integrity” committee. Especially now that he may be honing in on the actions of fellow supervisory board members, including Achleitner. The clock has started ticking, and maybe not just for Thoma.

 

That’s one thing we agree with him on: If he’s the nominee, it is over – for the GOP.

Maybe they always knew the day would come. They just didn’t want to believe it. For money launderers, May 4 will go down in history as the dark day they lost their beloved €500 bill.

Handelsblatt has learned that the ECB governing council will decide next week to scrap the €500 note – the bill of choice for money launderers. With 600 million of the pretty pink notes in circulation, they’re hoping to cramp the crooks’ style – and make those briefcases full of cash just a bit less colorful.

 

“Split up, hive off, sell off” is the latest trend in the chemicals and drug industries. But not at BASF. CEO Kurt Bock still believes in the old tried-and-true: “Big, bigger, BASF.” There’s just one problem: Sales, profit and return on investment at BASF have been declining for years.

In an interview with our experts, Bock didn’t duck the tough questions. Whether his answers prove correct remains to be seen. BASF employees and shareholders shouldn’t just read the interview; they should clip it out and save it for judgment day.

 

If the Porsche and Piëch families are looking for new blood at VW, they’d be wise to look at Conti.

The shareholders at auto parts maker Continental will meet Friday for a big happy party. Never before have sales and earnings been so high; never have so many people worked at Continental; never was more spent on R&D or higher dividends paid to shareholders. CEO Elmar Degenhart and supervisory board chief Wolfgang Reitzle are the heroes.

If the Porsche and Piëch families are looking for new blood at VW, they’d be wise to look at Conti. Every personnel change begins with an idea. Often, managers aren’t replaced because they’re bad, but because someone is better.

 

Frank Bsirske, head of Germany’s powerful Verdi union, is a master of disaster: After orchestrating warning strikes at daycare centers, government offices, swimming pools and in garbage collection, he is grinding things to a halt today at six big German airports.

Verdi and civil service workers want 6 percent more for 2.1 million members. Public employers are offering 3 percent – over two years. The hostages in what will probably be a summer-long drama are – you guessed it – you and me. The line forms at the left.

 

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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