Kuka’s robotic arms are a familiar sight on assembly lines, like this Mercedes-Benz plant in Germany, but the majority Chinese-owned company wants to expand beyond the factory
Germany is a top target in China’s search for innovative engineering groups — but some see a threat
At this year’s Hannover Messe, the world’s biggest industrial fair, it was one of the stars of the show: an elegant, ultra-sensitive robot known as an Iiwa that can pour a beer and brew a cup of coffee.
Angela Merkel and Barack Obama, guests of honour on the Messe’s opening day, were intrigued. “Can it squeeze lemons?” the German chancellor asked.
The Iiwa — or intelligent industrial work assistant — is produced by Kuka, one of Germany’s most innovative engineering companies. But it will not be entirely German for long. Less than a month after the fair, a Chinese appliance-maker called Midea offered to buy Kuka for €4.5bn, in the largest ever Chinese takeover of a German company. Continue reading →
As yet another reminder, and you may well already know after being a reader here for a while, Deutsche Bank has over $70 trillion in derivatives exposure. We could be seeing the effects of that right now. What’s more, Commerzbank is a “Tochterunternehmen” of Deutsche Bank. In English, that’s to say it’s a subsidiary. Therefore, the true scale of DB’s exposure is not 100% known. In this century’s total economic collapse race, Germany is making a strong push to be the first in the world. America’s in the same boat, but it has a better method in kicking the can down the road.
EUROPE’S biggest economy was plunged into fresh chaos tonight amid warnings a new financial crisis in Germany could destroy the EU.
Shares in Germany’s two biggest lenders – Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank – fell sharply again as panic gripped global markets. They have now seen their combined market value plummet by more than £14BILLION in the past three months.
Deutsche Bank shares fell by nearly four per cent to close at an all-time low amid turmoil not seen since the depths of the financial crisis in 2009.
Meanwhile shares in Commerzbank, Germany’s second biggest lender, fell even further, by 4.65 per cent, to close at their lowest level in nearly two-and-a-half years.
“The emotional side of me tends to imagine France, like the princess in the fairy stories or the Madonna in the frescoes, as dedicated to an exalted and exceptional destiny. Instinctively I have the feeling that Providence has created her either for complete successes or for exemplary misfortunes. Our country, as it is, surrounded by the others as they are, must aim high and hold itself straight, on pain of mortal danger. In short, to my mind, France cannot be France without greatness.
– Charles de Gaulle, from his memoirs
Recently there have been a spate of horrific train wrecks in the news. Almost inevitably we find out there was human error involved. Almost four years ago I began writing about the coming train wreck that was Europe and specifically Greece. It was clear from the numbers that Greece would have to default, and I thought at the time that Portugal would not be too far behind. Spain and Italy clearly needed massive restructuring. Part of the problem I highlighted was the significant imbalance between exports and imports in all of the above countries. Continue reading →