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China’s Deal Makers Have German Tech Firms in Their Sights

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Cornelius Jones

FRANKFURT—Chinese companies are on course to set record investment levels in Germany this year, fueling concerns about the country losing hold of its most innovative and technologically advanced companies.

The splurge is drawing attention less for the sums involved than the targets, some of which are considered pivotal to Germany s ambitions in manufacturing and engineering technology.

Shareholder associations and German unions have also expressed concern, and last week German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel proposed forming a European consortium to launch an alternative bid for Kuka.

Other recent proposed or completed Chinese deals in Germany include China National Chemical Corp. s $1 billion takeover of KraussMaffei Group, a cutting-edge equipment maker that processes plastics and rubber, and Beijing Enterprises Holdings Ltd. s $1.59 billion takeover of EEW Energy from Waste, which operates high-tech waste-incineration plants that produce electricity, heat and steam for industrial use.

German firms are world leaders at this, said Margot Schüller, senior research fellow at the GIGA Institute of Asian Studies in Hamburg.

Germany and Europe will have to get used to China s increased presence, said Yi Sun, a partner at Ernst & Young, where she leads a team advising Chinese companies on investing in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

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