Germany

FILE PHOTO: Lockheed Martin's logo is seen during Japan Aerospace 2016 air show in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Lockheed Martin’s logo is seen during Japan Aerospace 2016 air show in Tokyo, Japan, October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

March 19, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German military helicopter tender likely to be fought out between U.S. arms makers Lockheed Martin and Boeing will get “mandatory” funding of 1.61 billion euros ($1.8 billion) under German budget plans, a government document shows.

Some lawmakers and industry officials had worried that the long-awaited tender could be postponed because Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen secured only half the 4 billion euro increase in military spending she had sought for 2020.

However the document, which is due to be approved by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet this week, singled out the heavy-lift helicopter as the only major arms program on a list of “mandatory elements” of a new four-year budget plan.

The helicopter program is expected to cost Germany around 4 billion euros ($4.54 billion) in the longer term, a rich prize for the winning bidder.

Germany’s defense ministry has previously said it expects to choose either of two U.S. helicopter models, the twin-rotor CH-47 Chinook helicopter built by Boeing, or the new CH-53K King Stallion built by Lockheed’s Sikorsky helicopter unit.

Procurement of the 45-60 helicopters will continue beyond 2023, which is why the four-year plan budgets for a smaller sum.

The Defence Ministry issued a pre-solicitation notice for the new helicopter in February, saying it expected to issue a formal request for proposals in the second half of 2019.

A ministry spokesman declined to comment on the finance ministry document or any specific funding requests.

“We’re at the beginning of the process,” he said.

German government officials will debate and refine the budget request in coming months, and changes are possible, but the fact that the helicopter program was designated mandatory should prevent a postponement of the program, experts said.

Another big arms project that was to be launched this year, an 8 billion euro MEADS missile-defense system, to be built by Europe’s MBDA, owned by Airbus, Italy’s Leonardo and Britain’s BAE Systems, and Lockheed, was not included on the mandatory funding list.

Also absent were four new multi-role MKS 180 warships expected to cost 4.5 billion euros ($5.11 billion), along with a option for two additional ships.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke, Andrea Shalal and Sabine Siebold; Editing by Alexander Smith)

Source: OANN

William Davis | Contributor

Actor Bruce Willis was born Mar. 19, 1955, in Oberstein, Germany.

Willis turned 64-years-old on Tuesday. Willis is best known for his role in the 1988 classic Christmas film “Die Hard.” (RELATED: Bruce Willis’ Film ‘Air Strike’ Axed After Co-Star Disappears)

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 05: Actor Bruce Willis attends the 2017 Room To Grow Spring Benefit at Guastavino's on April 5, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)

Actor Bruce Willis attends the 2017 Room To Grow Spring Benefit … (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)

Die Hard is one of the greatest movies of all time and a perfect one to pull out of your cabinet during the Christmas season. It’s a shame that Willis’ birthday doesn’t fall around the holidays, because there would be no better way to celebrate than turning on this classic film. (RELATED: Celebrate Bruce Willis’ Birthday With His Top 10 Movies Of All Time [Video])

Even though it’s only March, It’s still a great flick to watch anytime, but it’s hardly the only classic film Willis has ever made. The award-winning actor has also starred in other classics such as “Pulp Fiction,” and “The Sixth Sense.”

Bruce Willis Die Hard (Photo: YouTube Screenshot)

Bruce Willis Die Hard (Photo: YouTube Screenshot)

He was awarded a Golden Globe for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy in 1987 for his role in “Moonlighting”; a People’s Choice Award for Actor in a New TV Series in 1986 for his role in “Moonlighting”; and another People’s Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture Star In A Drama in 2000 for his role in “The Sixth Sense” among many others.

Willis is one of the greatest actors in American history, and we all wish him the happiest of birthdays.

Follow William Davis on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech at the annual Global Solutions Summit in Berlin
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech at the annual Global Solutions Summit in Berlin, Germany, March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

March 19, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday she would fight for an orderly Brexit right up until Britain’s planned departure from the European Union on March 29.

Merkel, asked whether she was ready to offer British Prime Minister Theresa May a new Brexit deal, said she “noted with interest” a ruling by the speaker of parliament that May must change her twice-defeated divorce deal to put it to a third vote.

“Now, we will see what Theresa May says to us, what her wishes are – we will try to respond to those,” Merkel added, speaking at a conference in Berlin.

“We will follow very closely how the British government reacts to what was said yesterday in parliament,” she added. “As to how deal with the situation, I can’t assess how it will be (at an EU summit) on Thursday – there is far too much in flux.”

In a move that added to the sense of crisis in London and exasperation in European capitals just days before the March 29 exit date, Speaker John Bercow shocked May’s government on Monday by ruling it could not put the same Brexit deal to another vote unless it was substantially different.

“I will fight until the last minute of the time to March 29 for an orderly exit,” Merkel said. “We haven’t got a lot of time for that, but still some days.”

Asked if she would be prepared to grant Britain a delay to Brexit, Merkel replied that she wanted to have very good relations with Britain even after Brexit.

(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Michelle Martin)

Source: OANN

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech at the annual Global Solutions Summit in Berlin
FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech at the annual Global Solutions Summit in Berlin, Germany, March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

March 19, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that if there was no international agreement on taxing digital companies by the second half of next year, Europe should go ahead anyway.

Merkel also, however, expressed optimism that a global solution would be reached given that U.S. President Donald Trump is also interested in achieving that.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin and Madeline Chambers)

Source: OANN

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech at the annual Global Solutions Summit in Berlin
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech at the annual Global Solutions Summit in Berlin, Germany, March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

March 19, 2019

Source: OANN

The German share price index DAX graph at the stock exchange in Frankfurt
FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Staff

March 19, 2019

By Sruthi Shankar and Agamoni Ghosh

(Reuters) – European shares were on course for a fifth day of gains on Tuesday, with retail and basic resources stocks particularly strong as investors anticipated a more accommodative policy stance from the U.S. Federal Reserve this week.

The benchmark STOXX 600 rose 0.5 percent by 0932 GMT, hitting a five-month peak in what would be its longest winning streak since mid September. Gains were broad-based although Germany’s DAX led the pack with a 0.6 percent rise.

The Fed’s two-day meeting starts on Tuesday, with financial markets expecting the U.S. central bank to reinforce a halt to further rises in interest rates while possibly going further on a plan to cease reductions in its balance sheet.

That would follow moves by the European Central Bank two weeks ago to reloosen policy and pump more money into the financial system, offering hope of a continuation of stock market gains.

“There is a slightly better sentiment about stabilization on the global economy compared to late last year,” said Geoffrey Yu, head of UK investment office at UBS Wealth Management.

“As long as we have this stabilization anchored by clear expectations of a dovish Fed, or at least a non-hawkish Fed, this will be enough to keep things going,” Yu said.

Bank stocks handed back early losses to trade up 0.4 percent, after jumping more than a full percentage point on Monday following confirmation of merger talks between Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank.

Scandal-hit Danske Bank fell more than 5.3 percent in the aftermath of a vote by shareholders against a proposal to break up the bank.

NEW VOTE

News on Brexit also pointed to a delay in efforts by British Prime Minister Theresa May to get her divorce deal through parliament.

The speaker of parliament on Monday ruled May could not put her deal to a new vote unless it was re-submitted in a fundamentally different form. May is due at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday at which she will ask for a delay to Britain’s planned departure from the bloc on March 29.

London’s FTSE 100, packed with international companies that benefit from a weaker British pound, rose 0.4 percent, boosted by oil majors and miners.

Online supermarket Ocado climbed to a record high after posting strong gains in first-quarter retail sales despite a fire at its flagship distribution center.

Luxury stocks got a lift from positive trade surplus data from Switzerland, with the retail index gaining nearly 1 percent.

Chilean copper miner Antofagasta advanced about 4 percent and was the top gainer on the STOXX 600, as a higher than expected dividend overshadowed a drop in core earnings.

French telecoms operator Iliad dropped more than 2 percent after the company cut its cashflow target for 2020 in France and added it was considering the sale of part of its mobile assets.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Catherine Evans and David Holmes)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Aerial view of containers at a loading terminal in the port of Hamburg
FILE PHOTO: Aerial view of containers at a loading terminal in the port of Hamburg, Germany August 1, 2018. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

March 19, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – A panel of advisers to the German government slashed its growth forecast for this year to 0.8 percent and warned risks related to Britain’s departure from the European Union, trade disputes and a sharper than expected slowdown in China remained high.

The group that advises the German government on economic policy had in November forecast that Europe’s largest economy would expand by 1.5 percent this year.

The panel said on Tuesday economic growth had slowed significantly, partly due to problems in the chemical and auto sectors and warned that a spiral of protectionist measures had the potential to push the economy into recession.

But Christoph Schmidt, one of the advisers, said: “The German economic boom is over but a recession is not currently expected due to the robust domestic economy.”

The group predicted the economy would grow by 1.7 percent in 2020.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Madeline Chambers)

Source: OANN

A journalist uses his mobile phone to take a picture of the 5G logo prior to the auction of spectrum for 5G services at the Bundesnetzagentur head quarters in Mainz
A journalist uses his mobile phone to take a picture of the 5G logo prior to the auction of spectrum for 5G services at the Bundesnetzagentur head quarters in Mainz, Germany, March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

March 19, 2019

MAINZ, Germany (Reuters) – Germany launched its 5G mobile spectrum auction on Tuesday, finally going ahead after a court threw out legal challenges and regulators resisted U.S. pressure to ban Chinese network vendors from building out next-generation networks.

Four firms are vying for 41 blocks of spectrum in the 2 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands that are suited to running ‘connected’ factories – a priority for Europe’s largest economy as it seeks to remain competitive in the digital age.

“It is important for us that we have a focus on industry, and on better coverage,” Jochen Homann, head of the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) said ahead of the auction.

Germany’s three network operators – Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland – have been admitted into the auction.

Also participating is 1&1 Drillisch, a virtual mobile operator controlled by United Internet that wants to run a fourth network.

Bid teams surrendered their smartphones on entering the former army barracks in the southwestern city of Mainz where the auction is being held. They are bidding via a secure network from separate rooms and can only discuss strategy with their head offices via fax.

All 41 blocks will be auctioned simultaneously, with results posted online after each round. The government hopes to raise billions from the auction – a 4G auction in 2015 collected 5.1 billion euros ($5.8 billion) – which is likely to go on for weeks.

After months of uncertainty, the auction went ahead after a court last week threw out lawsuits from the operators, who had complained that a requirement to provide high-speed coverage to 98 percent of households by 2022 was too onerous.

Regulators also clarified ground rules applying to network equipment vendors following U.S. pressure on its allies to ban China’s Huawei Technologies on national security grounds.

Germany opted instead to impose tighter compliance requirements on all vendors, creating a level playing field and allaying the concerns of the operators – all of which already use Huawei equipment – that they would have to replace parts of their networks at great expense.

“The same rules apply, whether you are from Sweden or China,” Homann told reporters.

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

Source: OANN

The German share price index DAX graph at the stock exchange in Frankfurt
FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Staff

March 19, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Fund managers have named bearish bets in European equities as the “most crowded” trade for the first time, replacing emerging markets, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s March survey released on Tuesday.

Investors have shunned European stocks for some time, betting the market would be weaker compared with the United States and other regions as euro-zone economic growth slows and Britain’s chaotic exit from the European Union raises worries about disruption to its economy.

A slowdown in China, the world’s No. 2 economy, topped the list of biggest tail risks, ousting the trade war, which had been at the forefront of investor concerns for the previous nine months, the survey showed.

BAML’s March survey – conducted between March 8-14, with 239 panelists managing $664 billion in total – also showed investor risk appetite continued to fall, with global equity allocations remaining at September 2016 lows.

(Reporting by Josephine Mason, Editing by Helen Reid)

Source: OANN

File photo of logo of Germany's biggest retailer Metro AG pictured at a Metro cash and carry in Berlin
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Germany’s biggest retailer Metro AG is pictured at a Metro cash and carry in Berlin in this June 10, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/Files

March 19, 2019

By Kane Wu and Julie Zhu

HONG KONG (Reuters) – German wholesaler Metro AG has kicked off the sale of its China operations by calling for bids, in a deal that would value the business at between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, two people with direct knowledge of the deal said.

Metro, which owns 95 stores in China and real estate assets in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, is planning to offload a majority stake in its China business, said the people.

The sale move is part of a global reorganization of the wholesaler and comes as China’s wholesale and retail sectors are experiencing disruption from e-commerce players.

Metro’s China business could yet be valued at up to $3 billion, said two separate sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

Potential bidders include electronics retailer Suning Holdings Group, supermarket chain operators Wumart Stores Inc and Yonghui Superstores, according to three of the people.

Private equity firms such as Hillhouse Capital Group and Bain Capital are also studying a potential deal, they added.

Property makes up the bulk of the value in Metro’s China business, the people said, cautioning, however, that there is a large gap between price expectations among buyers and the seller.

A Metro spokeswoman in Germany said the company is in talks with potential partners concerning the further development of its China business but declined to comment on details of its exchanges with potential partners or the sale process.

Bain and Suning declined to comment. Yonghui and Hillhouse did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Calls to Wumart went unanswered.

First-round, non-binding bids are due in the second week of April, said two of the people. Citigroup and JPMorgan are advising Metro, the people said. The banks declined to comment.

All the sources declined to be named as the deal talks are not public.

E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings has also been in talks with Metro about taking a stake in the China business, Reuters previously reported.

Tech giants such as Alibaba and Tencent have been investing in supermarkets and shopping malls to help develop their online-to-offline strategy.

Alibaba in 2015 poured $4.6 billion into Suning’s listed entity – Suning.Com Co Ltd and holds a 19.99 percent stake, its biggest step towards integrating online and store-based shopping at the time.

Tencent, which has invested 4.2 billion yuan in a 5 percent stake of Yonghui, is also forming a partnership in China with Europe’ s largest retailer Carrefour.

The German wholesaler opened its first China store in Shanghai in 1996 and now has over 11,000 employees in the country. Its sales in the country reached 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion) in the financial year of 2017-2018, according to its website.

Once a sprawling retail conglomerate, Metro has been restructuring in recent years to focus on its core cash-and-carry business, selling Kaufhof department stores and then splitting from consumer electronics group Ceconomy.

Metro is also trying to offload its loss-making Real hypermarkets chain.

(Reporting by Kane Wu, Julie Zhu and Sumeet Chatterjee in Hong Kong; Additional reporting by Matthias Inverardi in DUESSELDORF; Editing by Jennifer Hughes and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Source: OANN


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