Germany plans rapid state intervention to protect key industries

epa03117660 A German flag flies at half mast in front of Saxony's State Chancellery in Dresden, Germany, 23 February 2012. With commemorative events and a minute of silence, people in Germany wish to remember victims of a neo-Nazi terror cell, thereby send a signal to the World. EPA/Arno Burgi

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German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier wants to set up a new government body with powers to decide quickly whether to take stakes in key domestic companies to prevent foreign takeovers.

Altmaier presented his new industrial strategy on Friday, including plans to set up a standing committee which, as a last resort, could decide to take stakes in German companies that produce sensitive or security relevant technologies.

The stakes, which would be acquired by Germany’s KfW state development bank, would be held temporarily. This can already be done in some cases under German law, but Altmaier said the process was too slow.

Under the plans, Germany also aims to step up screening of non-European investors that want to buy into firms in key sectors, in a move widely seen as targeting Chinese state-backed investors.

The plans come at a time when the European Union as a whole is reconsidering its industrial strategy and relations to China in the face of increased investment in critical sectors by Chinese state-owned enterprises.

Via Reuters

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