The Federal government has decided stricter rules for the acquisition of shares in German companies in sensitive areas. At its Cabinet meeting they decided on a Change of the external economic regulation. Had aspired, Federal Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU). He wanted to speak at a press conference at noon to the Details.

As previously known, the threshold at which the Federal government is a share acquisition by an Investor outside the EU and, where appropriate, prohibit can be lowered from the current 25 percent to ten percent. This threshold applies only to safety-relevant areas, such as the range of the defense or the so-called critical infrastructures. Including power utilities, but also food producers of a certain size.

Background of the plans from companies are being taken over by Chinese investors. So, the Federal government had prevented the entry of a Chinese company in the German power supply. Therefore, the rules for takeover attempts in sensitive areas tightened. The goal is that the Federal government can have a say in time, if the legitimate security interests of Germany could be affected.

In the summer of 2017, the Federal government had tightened the external economic regulation. Since then, they can prohibit acquisitions if it sees critical infrastructures in danger.

BDI against stricter foreign trade regulation

The Federation of German industries (BDI) appealed against the tightening of the external economic regulation-a-year rhythm. The government had since the amendment of 2017 is already an “effective tool to protect national security and critical infrastructures,” the Association said. The lowering of the Prüfschwelle should remain in the “clearly-defined national security interests limited”.

The BDI demanded from the Federal government, however, the law on competition and subsidy control to be improved. “If foreign investors buy with the subsidies their state in Germany, a technology company, this is not a threat to national security.”