BERLIN Oct 17 The head of the VDMA German
industry association warned on Monday against proposals to
protect high-tech companies from unwanted takeovers, saying it
would be better to ensure that German businesses are treated
fairly when investing abroad.
Newspaper Welt am Sonntag had reported that Deputy Economy
Minister Matthias Machnig had in the past week sent to
government members a paper containing six key points for
reviewing investment at the European Union level.
The paper foresees wide-reaching rights for the EU and
national governments to prohibit company acquisitions by
investors in non-EU countries, the newspaper said.
Thilo Brodtmann, head of the VDMA, responded on Monday by
saying that functioning competition and open markets are
essential for the future of the machinery industry.
"These basic rules should not be thrown overboard,"
Brodtmann said in a statement.
"Mechanical engineering companies in Germany, therefore, do
not want extended protection from foreign investors, but above
all to have the same conditions for their own investments abroad
as there are in the EU."
Any examination of possible protective measures should be
taken with utmost care, he added.
"The right of an entrepreneur to sell his property freely
should not be restricted for reasons of daily policy," he said.
Takeovers by Chinese investors have prompted the German
government to consider whether it needs to do more to protect
Chinese household appliance manufacturer Midea
bought German industrial robot maker Kuka for 4.5
billion euros ($5.04 billion) this year and Chinese chipmaker
Sanan Optoelectronics last week said it had been in
contact with lighting group Osram about a potential
acquisition or cooperation deal.
German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel has called for a
European-wide safeguard clause which could stop foreign
takeovers of firms whose technology is deemed strategic for the
future economic success of the region.
($1 = 0.8928 euros)
(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by David Goodman)