Saturday, October 29, 2016

Company takeovers in Germany: fear of China – MIRROR ONLINE

It could have been a relaxing trip for Sigmar Gabriel (SPD). On Monday, the Minister of the economy, breaking up with a Manager-Delegation to China – handshakes, transactions, threading, a little bit of politics. The is usually. But this Time it has to make Gabriel uncomfortable questions in focus. After all, within a week, his Ministry has snubbed two Times by Chinese companies.

First, the Federal government had stopped the Takeover of the German company Aixtron by Chinese investors, then they slowed the sale of the lamp division of Osram in Chinese prospects. It seems, as do in Germany, just a new fear of Takeovers by Chinese investors in width.

In the case of Aixtron people are clueless about the background of the decision from Berlin, as well as the potential buyer of Fujian Grand Chip (FGC). “This has surprised everyone,” it means from the environment of the investment Fund.

Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister of Economics Sigmar Gabriel (SPD)


Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister of Economics Sigmar Gabriel (SPD)

Indeed, had taken care of the takeover plans at an early stage for distrust, because you should, indirectly, by Chinese state-funded. But so far, the Chinese seem to have overcome all the hurdles. This also includes extensive information to the us securities and exchange Commission SEC included, in addition to inspections by the German authorities, because part of the Aixtron-traded shares in the United States.

Finally, the previously little known FGC-chief Liu Zhendong campaigned in an Interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE in person for the Acquisition. However, he denied, to act on behalf of the Chinese state. Even with the dubious cancellation of a contract of the Chinese company San’an Optoelectronics to Aixtron you have nothing to do. After the cancellation the end of 2015, Aixtron slump of course. And because between San’an and the FGC business Connections, was the come of the suspicion, the Chinese would deliberately pressed to the purchase price of Aixtron.

quite surprisingly, the Failure came in the last Minute but apparently. “We have noticed in the last three months, that someone is actively working against the Acquisition,” the Deal familiar circles. “He had information that could only have come from U.S. authorities.”

German or American authorities have expressed Why, but these concerns have not in the past? One theory is that the German intelligence services lacked information about the explosive nature of Aixtron’s technology and you were only warned at the last Minute by U.S. colleagues. The concern: products of Aixtron may be used in the Chinese nuclear program.

Chinese Investor Liu Zhendong

Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund LP

the Chinese Investor Liu Zhendong

in fact, the US had notified the authorities in the past, in the case of exports of machinery for semiconductor production concerns. In 1998 they said the delivery of the US manufacturer, Emcore. When the Chinese bought instead, in the case of Aixtron, led to an official Protest to the Americans.

in addition, Aixtron is examining the Federal Ministry of Economics and currently also the sale of the Osram lamp division to the Chinese LED specialist, MLS, wants to take over the ailing business with energy-saving lamps and neon tubes for more than 400 million euros. At the end of March, the contract was signed, the sale should be completed in the coming year. Now he is because of the Intervention from Berlin for the first time on the ice.

The Deal is for Osram immensely important: Although the company separates from a very large area of business that it generated, for decades, billions of dollars, but traditional light bulbs are a discontinued model. Most recently Osram has made this division losses.

Osram-Logo in Munich


Osram Logo in Munich

Why is Berlin become suddenly suspicious? In General, in the case of every company, a so-called clearance certificate transfer will be requested from the Ministry of economy. If the Ministry in Berlin has not commented one month after the submission of the application, the certificate shall be issued automatically. The Osram Deal the Ministry is now to a closer examination.

After the receipt of all documents Gabriel’s officials have two months time, the Acquisition exactly. An investment may be prohibited according to the law on foreign trade but only if it “might endanger the public order or security of the Federal Republic of Germany.”

fear before the Chinese influence

Not everyone wants to believe, however, that in the case of two Deals, in fact, security concerns are crucial. In the case of Aixtron, about the largest competitors to U.S. companies such as Veeco and Cree. Want to prevent the Americans so the entry in order to protect a company before a German-Chinese competitors? Barry Norris, Manager of Aixtron shareholder, Argonaut Capital, suggests the. With his Veto, Minister of economic Affairs Gabriel threatened, “to play the stooge for American commercial interests,” he criticizes.

in Addition, an interesting cross-connection between the two Deals. Because, of all things, San’an Optoelectronics, so that Chinese companies, the already played at of the company’s Acquisition of a dubious role, he also apparently plans for the purchase of Osram. The was recently announced.

in order for Aixtron, a manufacturer of machines for the production of LEDs, and light bulb manufacturer Osram in the Chinese Hand. The company would have access to the entire value chain of this High-Tech industry. All the patents were in Chinese possession. Perhaps Berlin looks now, therefore, in the case of two Deals exactly.

New to such Concerns in the case of foreign Acquisitions are not in any case. In 2007, the discomfited the increased entry of foreign state funds in the case of German companies, the policy. Angela Merkel warned at the time, in the Bundestag, foreign investors not only the yield but may also influence. As a result of the debate economic law in terms of outside the right of veto of the economy Minister in the case of Acquisitions of more than 25 percent by foreign investors – this Option Gabriel moved to the Aixtron Deal.


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