Germany considers protecting firms from foreign takeovers: newspaper

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German Economy Ministry wants to protect high tech companies in Germany from unwanted takeovers, especially from state-owned and partly state-owned companies in non-European countries, a German newspaper reported on Sunday.

Welt am Sonntag (WamS) said Deputy Economy Minister Matthias Machnig had in the past week sent to members of the German government 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.

The issue of foreign takeovers has come to the fore in Germany with Chinese home appliance maker Midea 000333.SZ buying German robot maker Kuka KU2G.DE and Chinese chipmaker Sanan Optoelectronics 600703.SS saying on Monday it had been in contact with German lighting group Osram OSRn.DE about a potential acquisition or cooperation deal.

Asked about the newspaper report, a spokesman for the Economy Ministry said he would not comment on internal government working papers.

“Minister (Sigmar) Gabriel has, however, repeatedly made clear that he would like to sound out options - also at the European level - to make fair competition possible, especially in international competition with state-subsidized foreign companies, and at the same time to remain open for investment,” the spokesman said.

Reporting by Michelle Martin and Holger Hansen; Editing by Mark Potter