Germany is bracing for many months of economic crisis, as it battles through the Corona-virus pandemic.
As Europe’s largest economy prepares to launch a multi-billion-euro rescue package today, government ministers in Berlin are concerned that the crisis will make key companies and industries vulnerable to hostile foreign takeovers.
In a weekend interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, the federal transport minister said that weakened German companies could be targeted by international investors — and that the government needs to get laws in place to avert that.
There is worldwide interest in successful European companies, also in mobility and infrastructure,” transport minister Andreas Scheuer told the paper.
He said he was in discussions with other ministries to draw up countermeasures, noting “it is about securing economic power in Germany after the crisis.
China in particular has shown great interest in cutting-edge German companies, especially in the tech and engineering sectors. Chinese firm Midea’s €4.5 billion takeover of robotics firm Kuka in 2016 provoked major angst in government circles, as did Geely becoming Daimler’s biggest shareholder in 2018.
Bavarian state premier Markus Söder wants to ban foreign takeovers of German firms if needs be. “If at the end of this crisis… almost the entire Bavarian and German economy is in foreign hands and we no longer have any control options, then it is not just a medical crisis.
“The costs are expected to exceed anything known in Germany from economic crises or natural disasters in recent decades,” said Ifo President Clemens Fuest in a statement. The Ifo puts the costs of a two-month partial shutdown of the economy at between €255 and €495 billion.
Yahoo Finance / ABC Flash point News 2020.