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April 8, 2020

Germany to tighten up on foreign take-over of strategic companies

Germany to tighten up on foreign take-over of strategic companies
German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier

The German Government on Wednesday said it was set to initiate changes to the law on foreign takeovers of strategic companies following a decision taken at a cabinet meeting in Berlin.

According to the Economy Minister, Peter Altmaier, the measures, aimed at investors from outside the EU, will impose stricter conditions than previously in place, characterizing the current German law as “extremely liberal” in that respect.

The changes will, for example, cover provision of essential supplies, such as vaccines and critical infrastructure, including electricity grids.

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Altmaier also said the government would soon look into how the production of medical equipment could be boosted in Germany and across the EU.

“The change was initiated before the current health crisis and follows initiatives at the EU level by both Germany and France.

“One impulse came from the fact that Germany was only with difficulty able to prevent a Chinese company taking a stake in power grid operator 50Hertz,“ Altmaier said.

In 2018, Germany’s KfW state-owned Development Bank took a stake of 20 per cent in 50Hertz, squeezing out a bid by the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC).

However, an earlier successful takeover of KUKA industrial robotic systems by China’s Midea in early 2017 also called for concern.


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