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Olaf Storbeck

Breakingviews - German vote bodes ill for utilities and autos

Sep 26 2017

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Germany’s new electoral landscape promises upheaval for companies as well as politicians. Chancellor Angela Merkel faces tricky coalition negotiations after Sunday’s inconclusive elections. Organising a parliamentary majority requires simultaneous support from the pro-business Free Democrats and the Greens. The environmental party’s inclusion would be good news for Germany's emission-reduction ambitions, but may hurt carbon-guzzling utilities and automakers.

Breakingviews - Diminished Merkel will choke ambitious euro reform

Sep 25 2017

FRANKFURT (Reuters Breakingviews) - Euro zone reform was barely addressed in the run-up to the German election on Sunday. Yet Europe’s ambition to strengthen the foundations of the single currency may be the most high-profile victim of the vote in its biggest economy.  

Breakingviews - Germany’s Caribbean coalition will shake Europe

Sep 25 2017

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Sunday's election will turn Germany into Jamaica. A coalition resembling the colours of the Caribbean country's flag – black for Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, yellow for the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), plus the Greens – is the only viable option for a majority in the German parliament. Europe’s largest economy is facing a period of weak and unstable government.

Breakingviews - Tata Steel JV pays ThyssenKrupp four dividends

Sep 20 2017

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - ThyssenKrupp Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger is finally getting real on steel. More than two centuries after Friedrich Krupp started making cast steel in Germany’s Ruhr region, the industrial group is backing out of the industry. The historic joint venture with Indian rival Tata Steel unshackles it from a fickle, capital-intensive business which for years has been struggling to earn its cost of capital. It can pay ThyssenKrupp dividends on four levels.

Breakingviews - Colour-coding Germany’s election

Sep 18 2017

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Germany’s election is not short on colour. Angela Merkel is all but certain to secure a fourth term as chancellor, and the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) will most probably win its first parliamentary seats. But otherwise the poll remains an open race. Breakingviews breaks down the possible combinations, and their consequences for Germany – and for Europe.

Breakingviews - Merkel’s past omissions will return to haunt her

Sep 12 2017

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s past economic omissions may come back to haunt her if she wins a fourth term. Since taking office in 2005, she has failed to invest enough, tailor the welfare state to an ageing population, or prepare the country for costly climate change targets. The economy will pay the price during the next downturn.

Merkel matters less than her next coalition allies

Aug 18 2017

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Winning brings its own problems. Chancellor Angela Merkel is likely to land a fourth term in German elections on Sept. 24 yet may be forced to govern with a small majority in partnership with the Free Democrats (FDP).  That would be bad news for Germany and the European Union.

Marchionne's Maserati spinoff lacks traction

Aug 15 2017

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Fiat Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne has a knack for buying and selling car brands at the right time. He snapped up Chrysler on the cheap in 2009, and spun off Ferrari six years later to create one of the world’s most richly-valued auto stocks. Alfa Romeo and Maserati would stretch even his dealmaking skills.

Political crisis can turbo-boost overdue VW reform

Aug 08 2017

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - From a global perspective, the political crisis in Lower Saxony, which was triggered by the defection of a Green parliamentarian, looks a storm in a teacup. But for investors in Volkswagen, a snap election in the German state due in October could be a turning point for political meddling in the carmaker.

Carmakers need more collaboration, not less

Jul 24 2017

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Are Germany’s carmakers embroiled in a cartel bigger than the supersized Audi Q7 SUV? That’s the suggestion from a report in Der Spiegel magazine, suggesting that Audi, VW, Porsche, Daimler and BMW colluded to slow down innovation and limit the effectiveness of emission cleaning technology. The reality may prove more prosaic. On one level, carmakers are in need of more collaboration, not less.

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