Germany

Germany is examining whether it can fix its two largest lenders -- Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG -- by combining them into a national champion that’s once again able to challenge foreign rivals, Bloomberg News reported. History suggests it’s a recipe for more trouble. Spain encouraged the merger of seven failed savings banks into Bankia SA in 2010, only to bail out the combined entity two years later when it collapsed. The U.K. pressed Lloyds Banking Group Plc to swallow failing HBOS Plc in 2008 and a month later had to rescue Lloyds. The U.S.

Read more

Investor expectations for Germany’s economy darkened at the start of 2019, according to a new survey released on Monday that suggests sentiment has failed to brighten after a gloomy performance at the end of last year, the Financial Times reported. A reading by Frankfurt-based research house Sentix fell for the third straight month, with the overall index at its lowest since October 2014. Expectations for Europe’s biggest economy fell to minus 19, the lowest level since August 2012.

Read more

Four of insolvent carrier Hansa Heavy Lift's ships have been arrested. Legal action taken by bunker company World Fuel Services has led to the arrest of the heavy lift shipping company's ships, preliminary administrator Dr. Christoph Morgen tells ShippingWatch. Hansa Heavy Lift filed for bankruptcy protection last week, ShippingWatch reported. "As of today four Hansa Heavy Lift ships have been arrested due to legal action of World Fuel Services. Despite this fact preliminary insolvency administrator Dr.

Read more
The insolvency administrator for bankrupt airline Air Berlin has sued its former largest shareholder, Gulf airline Etihad, for 2 billion euros ($2.26 billion) in damages, a Berlin court said Friday, the Associated Press reported. The suit alleges United Arab Emirates-based Etihad failed to live up to its financial obligations by withdrawing funding from the struggling airline, according to the Berlin administrative court. In a statement, the court said Etihad had been supporting Air Berlin and sent a so-called "comfort letter" in April 2017 assuring its continued backing for 18 months.
Read more

Improvement in German manufacturing orders has yet to feed through to production, with the latest industrial production data indicating an unexpected month-on-month decline, the Financial Times reported. Industrial orders have increased on a month-on-month basis in each month since August, according to data published by the national statistics agency on Thursday. Output, however, declined in October from September, after edging 0.1 per cent higher in each of the previous two months.

Read more

German steelmaker Thyssenkrupp AG’s most opaque division has gone from hero to zero in the space of four short years, a Bloomberg View reported. The not-very-sexily-named “Industrial Solutions” unit builds plants for cement, chemical and mining customers. Until last month, it also included its ship-making and submarines business. When sales boom, industrial contractors like this generate cash thanks to the advance payments they get from customers for long-term projects. But if orders evaporate or the contractor misjudges the cost of finishing complex tasks, they bleed cash instead.

Read more

The chief executive of Germany’s Lufthansa said he expects the company to take part in more consolidation in the industry that will eventually leave three global carriers in Europe, Reuters reported. “There are way too many players in Europe,” Carsten Spohr told a meeting of the Centre for Aviation in Berlin on Tuesday, noting that six airlines had gone bankrupt in the last few months. “It is obvious that consolidation will act further and we as Lufthansa want to be part of that,” he said.

Read more

In a car park near Berlin’s unfinished Brandenburg airport, 10,000 unsold Volkswagens are testament to the woes of the eurozone’s largest economy — and to a conundrum for Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank, the Financial Times reported. The German economy contracted 0.2 per cent in the three months to September, the first time it has gone into reverse in three years, after its car industry — normally such a smooth engine of growth — sputtered badly.

Read more

The German financial sector is ill prepared to weather a recession, as the long era of economic growth may have inflated asset prices and lured lenders into underestimating future credit risks, Bundesbank has warned in its Financial Stability Review, the Financial Times reported. Germany’s central bank said on Wednesday it was particularly concerned that a surprise recession and a collapse in asset prices could kick off a downward spiral.

Read more

Five top German government advisers have warned that the country’s economic growth is set to slow dramatically this year, in what would be a sharp downturn in the fortunes of the eurozone’s economic powerhouse, the Financial Times reported. The annual report by Germany’s Council of Economic Experts, an independent group set up to monitor the economy and advise the government, forecast growth of 1.6 per cent this year and 1.5 per cent in 2019 — markedly worse than 2017’s six-year high of 2.2 per cent.

Read more