Foreign investments must become articulate politically
In the middle of the Berlin parliamentary summer recess, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) blocked the Chinese state-owned State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) from acquiring the German grid operator 50Hertz. Surprisingly undiplomatic and in plain language, the German federal government justified the decision with a "high interest in protecting critical energy infrastructures for security policy reasons". "The German people and German economy expect a secure energy supply." As one of four grid operators, 50Hertz secures the power supply of around 18 million people. The message to Beijing is clear: The time when investors from the Far East were able to acquire German companies largely unhindered is over.
Another example occurred at the same time: The BMWi signaled Chinese investor Yantai Taihai Cooperation explicitly that the German government would not agree on an attempted takeover of the traditional German company Leifeld Metal Spinning AG. Yantai was not willing to risk its investment and withdrew the application for permission prematurely. The Federal Ministry of Economics did not make a formal decision – the showdown was cancelled.