September 25, 2018 / 12:07 PM / in 3 months

Germany's Altmaier defends plan to protect critical infrastructure

BERLIN, Sept 25 (Reuters) - German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier on Tuesday defended government efforts to shield critical infrastructure against foreign takeovers, arguing that the state had a responsibility to protect key technology and industrial sectors.

Speaking to business leaders at an industrial conference in Berlin, Altmaier said: “Germany will remain the most open and most liberal country when it comes to mergers.”

But Altmaier added the government was mulling stricter takeover rules that would enable Berlin to have a closer look at who wanted to buy parts of Germany’s critical infrastructure.

Senior officials are working on changes to foreign trade regulations to ensure that key technologies remain in German hands. These 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. (Reporting by Michael Nienaber; editing by Thomas Seythal)

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