Germany considers protecting firms from foreign takeovers

Sigmar Gabriel. [Shutterstock]

The German Economy Ministry wants to protect high-tech companies in Germany from unwanted takeovers, especially from state-owned and partly state-owned companies in non-European countries, a German newspaper reported on Sunday.

Welt am Sonntag said Deputy Economy Minister Matthias Machnig had in the past week sent to members of the German government a paper containing six key points for reviewing investment at the European Union level.

The paper foresees wide-reaching rights for the EU and national governments to prohibit company acquisitions by investors in non-EU countries, the newspaper said.

The issue of foreign takeovers has come to the fore in Germany with Chinese home appliance maker Midea buying German robot maker Kuka and Chinese chipmaker Sanan Optoelectronics saying on Monday it had been in contact with German lighting group Osram about a potential acquisition or cooperation deal.

EU, Berlin oppose Chinese bid for 'strategic' German robotics maker

Top officials in Brussels and Berlin oppose a Chinese takeover bid of German industrial robotics supplier Kuka, a newspaper reported on Monday (30 May).

Asked about the newspaper report, a spokesman for the Economy Ministry said he would not comment on internal government working papers.

“Minister (Sigmar) Gabriel has, however, repeatedly made clear that he would like to sound out options – also at the European level – to make fair competition possible, especially in international competition with state-subsidised foreign companies, and at the same time to remain open for investment,” the spokesman said.

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