Morning Briefing Global Edition

Industry 4.0, Meet Union Warriors

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Strikes at Lufthansa and in public transport are making it hard for German travelers to keep calm.
  • 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 government will plug €1 billion into the nation’s electric-car market.
    • Lufthansa’s balance sheet showed a net profit of €1.7 billion, but around €1 billion came from plunging oil prices.
    • VW is pumping €4 billion into the SUV and e-car market in China.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

The teamwork sounded workable: Republican hopefuls Ted Cruz and John Kasich would divide and conquer to stop Donald Trump’s march to the party’s nomination. Kasich planned to leave Indiana to Cruz, while Cruz would reciprocate in Oregon and New Mexico.

By concentrating their meager resources, they hoped to trump the Donald. But just 12 hours after they shook on it, their deal fell apart in a pile of contradictory statements. You know how it is: Sometimes the worst-laid schemes go astray.

 

The co-head of Deutsche Bank, Jürgen Fitschen, fought a long battle in the courtroom to redeem his reputation – and has won. Prosecutors accused Fitschen and other top bankers of lies and fraud, but Judge Peter Noll, equipped with puns, gave his legal opinion on the matter: “You see nothing, you hear nothing, you smell nothing. From this we can only conclude, there is nothing.”

Unlike his co-defendants, who hurled insults at the prosecution once the verdict was in, Fitschen refrained from open celebration. The evidence in this case reveals him to be a banker and a gentleman.

 

The German government plans to pump in €1 billion to kick start the nation’s electric-car market. According to Handelsblatt information, the scheme sets aside €100 million for tax breaks, €300 million for a network of charging stations and €600 million in buyer subsidies.

The e-car may not consume gas, but it sure does gobble up tax money. That’s good for the auto industry and bad for the market economy. Soon we’ll only be able to see the principles of the free market stuffed and mounted in a history museum.

 

Soon we’ll only be able to see the principles of the free market stuffed and mounted in a history museum.

Today we look at the balance sheet of Germany’s biggest airline. Spoiler alert: It’s a bumpy ride.

Lufthansa showed a net profit of €1.7 billion, but around €1 billion came from plunging oil prices that slashed the carrier’s fuel bill. Lufthansa is valued at €6.6 billion by the stock market – even though its fleet is worth €12.6 billion. Optimists hope CEO Carsten Spohr’s strategy still might take hold. Realists remember the words of German comedian Karl Valentin: “The future used to be better too.”

 

What’s going on with Volkswagen in China? Handelsblatt spoke to Jochem Heizmann, VW’s board member for China, at the Beijing Motor Show. He revealed VW’s big plans for the Asian market, including a “future center” and €4 billion in business expansion focused on e-cars and SUVs.

What did Heizmann have to say about Dieselgate? Is China unfazed by VW’s problems or is it like they say: When a butterfly flaps its wings in the United States, it causes a hurricane in China? Find out in today’s Global Edition.

 

Thousands of passengers may fall victim to this never-ending wage dispute.

Obama leaves, the masses come: The Hanover Trade Fair, the world’s biggest industrial show, opens to the public today. But there’s a dark cloud over the fairgrounds: It looks like a civil service strike is going to bring public transport to a screeching halt. Industry 4.0, meet the stone-age ritual of union warriors.

 

Many people won’t even make it to Hanover. Lufthansa will feel the effects of ground crew picketing today. Domestic connections and some intercontinental flights are affected. Thousands of passengers may fall victim to this never-ending wage dispute. It’s a shame: Our world today is increasingly digital and virtual. But when something tries our patience, it’s usually analogue and in the flesh.

 

 

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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