Date
18 October 2018
Chinese deals such as the 2016 takeover of robotics firm Kuka by Midea are said to be prompting the German government to take some action to protect the nation's tech firms. Photo: Reuters
Chinese deals such as the 2016 takeover of robotics firm Kuka by Midea are said to be prompting the German government to take some action to protect the nation's tech firms. Photo: Reuters

Germany mulls fund to fend off Chinese tech takeovers: report

Germany is seeking to counter a surge in Chinese bids for stakes in German technology firms, with one of the plans under consideration being the creation of a billion-euro fund to rescue troubled takeover targets, according to Reuters.

Senior officials are also working on changes to foreign trade regulations to ensure that key technologies remain in German hands, the news agency reported Wednesday, citing a German government source.

The measures would include government reviews of foreign acquisitions of stakes in companies below the current 25-percent threshold, and expanding which types of purchases must be examined.

“This is an issue that we are working on very intensely,” the source was quoted as saying.

Berlin was galvanized into action by the takeover of robotics firm Kuka by China’s Midea in 2016 and the purchase earlier this year of a 9.7 percent stake in Daimler by Chinese carmaker Geely, according to the report.

Chinese firms completed 30 acquisitions in Germany last year, nearly double the number for 2016, and Chinese proposals accounted for 40 percent of the 165 reviews of foreign takeover plans in the last three years, Reuters cited its source as saying.

Chinese firms, some state-owned, are said to be particularly interested in German companies with special know-how, startups in the area of new technologies, and companies active in critical infrastructure fields.

As a last resort, the German government wants to set up a fund that could help companies if no private investors could be found to replace a possible Chinese bidder, or if guarantees by the state development bank KfW were not sufficient, the person said.

“We are talking about 1 billion euros that would be available as a last resort,” the source told Reuters, adding that the money could also be used proactively to support development of key technologies by German firms.

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RC

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