We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Wed 7 Nov 2007 10:13 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

EU opposition to sovereign funds grows

Germany pushes ahead with plans to protect firms from foreign influence, report says.

Germany's finance ministry is pushing ahead with plans to create funds financed by banks and insurers aimed at protecting domestic companies from foreign influence, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition has been mulling a range of legislation to help shield firms from cash-rich, state-owned funds, particularly in China, Russia and the Middle East.

"The finance ministry will present the relevant draft law to cabinet in the next month," the Handelsblatt business daily quoted an unidentified top-level ministry official as saying.

The details of the law are set to be included in changes to Germany's foreign trade legislation, the paper said.

The funds would act as strategic investors in German firms to block takeovers or purchases of stakes by foreign investors, it said, adding that the proposal was viewed with scepticism by Germany's finance industry.

Details of a separate draft economy ministry law seen by Reuters last week included rules that would oblige foreign investors seeking to take large stakes in German firms either to inform the government of their plans ahead of time or risk a lengthy probe.

The economy ministry draft, expected to be discussed by Merkel's cabinet before Christmas and take effect in the first half of next year, addresses concerns about takeovers of domestic companies by sovereign wealth funds and other outside investors.

It does not name any "strategic" sectors that are off limits to foreigners and foresees the extension of an existing law that gives Berlin a veto on takeovers of defence firms.

As such, it is milder than what some German politicians had pushed for publicly in recent months.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

For all the latest banking and finance news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.