Allianz Increases Profits Despite Crown Crisis | Free Press

About six percent more than a year earlier. Allianz insurer does significantly better than analysts expected.

Munich (dpa) – Insurer Allianz surprisingly increased its profits in the summer despite the Corona crisis.

The end result was a surplus of nearly € 2.1 billion, and thus around six percent more than a year earlier, as announced by the Dax group in Munich. Operating profit fell almost three percent to 2.9 billion euros. The consequences of the corona pandemic weighed on the operating result by about 100 million euros. However, seen during the first nine months, the burden amounted to 1.3 billion euros. Allianz now fared significantly better than analysts expected.

However, Allianz did not issue a new profit forecast for the full year. CEO Oliver Bäte had withdrawn his original plan to achieve an operating profit of 11.5 to 12.5 billion euros at the end of April. Furthermore, the group is now halting the already suspended buyback of its own shares. The administration justified it with the persistent economic uncertainties related to the pandemic.


Head of VDA: US remains the most important exporting country | Free Press

The threat of US import tariffs is a constant problem for the European auto industry. The VDA association is confident that a new president will not change that.

Düsseldorf / Berlin (dpa) – In the context of the US presidential elections, the German auto industry is definitely preparing to challenge trade talks with the future government in Washington.

“Europe will have to deal with the fact that regardless of who rules there, the United States, to be honest, not unjustified, will formulate its interests,” said the president of the Automotive Industry Association (VDA), Hildegard Müller, the Thursday at an online “Handelsblatt” industry event. The United States remains the most important exporting country of the German automotive industry.

Before and during his tenure, US President Donald Trump repeatedly threatened significantly higher import tariffs on cars made in Europe. In this way he wanted to reduce the high trade deficit of the United States with Europe and thus create jobs in his own country. Even CEOs say they have little illusion that challenger Joe Biden will be much more careful with German automakers. BMW boss Oliver Zipse and Daimler boss Ola Källenius have already expressed themselves similarly to their association boss.


Experts say the recovery of the US labor market is likely to slow further | Free Press

After the Crown crisis triggered an unprecedented drop in the US job market, signs point to a recovery for some time. However, job reconstruction is stagnating more and more.

Washington (dpa) – A few days after the presidential elections, the October labor market report is due today in the United States. Experts assume that the recovery after the historic recession at the beginning of the Corona crisis will continue, but that it has lost more momentum.

Analysts expect the unemployment rate to decline from 7.9 to 7.7 percent on average. In addition, around 590,000 new jobs are expected outside of agriculture. This would mean that the positive evolution of the previous months would continue, but the upward trend would again weaken considerably.

The corona pandemic had crippled the US economy, causing the unemployment rate to skyrocket to more than 14 percent in April. Therefore, it reached the highest value since records began after World War II. Much progress has been made since then, but employment remains well below pre-crisis levels. In light of a new wave of corona infections, the job market situation remains critical, even though another major lockdown in the US is currently viewed as highly unlikely.

“Employment is likely to have weakened more than before in October,” says Commerzbank expert Christoph Balz. This assessment is based, among other things, on figures for companies using Homebase time accounting software. There was even a slight deterioration here recently. The fact that more and more employees hired by the authorities for the census in the summer are being laid off again speaks in favor of a weakening in job growth. This effect alone is likely to have lost around 150,000 temporary jobs in October.

In addition, economists repeatedly warn that sharp falls in the unemployment rate should not be overestimated. The statistics do not include all Americans who are unemployed and would like to work. Many have given up their job search discouraged and are not logged into the data. “Because so many people have left the job market, the unemployment rate is skewed by almost three percentage points,” estimates Dekabank chief economist Ulrich Kater. The United States Federal Reserve (Fed) also assumes that the true unemployment rate is much higher.

The development of new jobless claims also suggests that the job market recovery is stalling. Last week, the number of initial applications was 751,000, which is only about 7,000 less than the previous week, as the Labor Department announced in Washington on Thursday. In historical comparison, this is still a dramatically high value. The experts only expected 735,000 new applications. Much stronger declines had occurred in previous months.


Hand Dryers: Manufacturers Complain About Corona Requirements | Free Press

Stuttgart (dpa) – Manufacturers of hot air hand dryers fear for their business due to the corona pandemic and accuse authorities of regulatory anger.

The background is, in particular, a new summer Corona occupational health and safety specification, according to which electric hand dryers should not be used in toilets and bathrooms to reduce the risk of infection, and disposable towels should be used instead. . The industry believes that there is no independent scientific basis for this. The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health refers to a preventive approach, since the risk has not finally been clarified.

“A branch of the industry is destroyed”, criticizes the managing director of the manufacturer Electrostar of Ebersbach an der Fils, Roman Gorovoy. The EHA (Electric Handdryer Association) industry association, of which Gorovoy is one of the initiators, started a campaign on social media a few months ago with the aim of stopping the ban on tumble dryers in bathrooms and toilets. Gorovoy himself and the association have written to federal and state authorities in writing, so far without the desired success. They depend on dialogue, but they also reserve the right to take legal action, Gorovoy said.

The central point of criticism from the manufacturers: the recommendations and specifications were based solely on fears. But they made sure that hand dryers in public toilets or in the catering industry were turned off or imposed as a precaution. “That immediately implies for the consumer: hand dryers are dangerous,” Gorovoy said. “There is a huge competitive disadvantage.” Almost no new devices are sold and potential customers are restless.

Electrostar generates around 15 percent of its approximately € 45 million in sales with Starmix-brand hand dryers. According to Gorovoy, the market share is also around 15 percent. Around 25 to 30 of the total 200 jobs in Ebersbach were directly dependent on him.

The question of whether electric hand dryers encourage the spread of viruses was discussed long before the outbreak of the corona pandemic. The studies arrive, on the one hand, and on the other, the results more or less clear, depending on which side commissioned or financed them. There are studies that have been done on behalf of the paper industry. Dryer manufacturer Dyson, for example, has already done their own research.

Gorovoy and the association argue that there is no clear independent evidence that hand dryers pose a greater risk than paper towels.

“Evidence on the hygiene of different forms of hand drying varies by study,” says the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. “In addition, many studies were financially supported by stakeholders from the business world.” A final neutral evaluation is currently not known.

For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) names hand dryers in connection with Corona as an alternative to paper towels, but also emphasizes elsewhere that more research is needed on the spread of the virus through aerosols. . Manufacturers also refer to WHO and cite an earlier study that reached similar conclusions. The Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA), in turn, recommends that preferably clean and disposable towels be used.

“The issue is still being controversially discussed at the international level,” the Federal Agency said. “In the sense of a preventive approach of the state regulations for the protection against infections, the use of electric hand dryers is not currently recommended, which in any case can cause additional air circulation in the rooms.”


Kutzner rises to leadership

With Karen Kutzner, 55, another woman will join the management of Volkswagen Sachsen on January 1. The graduate economist was previously CFO at Volkswagen Slovakia and has now been appointed Managing Director of Finance and Control in Saxony, as the company announced on Wednesday. She takes over the duties of Dmitry Bogatyrev, who started his career in 2010 …


Tesla boss visits factory construction site in Grünheide | Free Press

Elon Musk is looking for first-class engineers for his new plant in Grünheide. To do this, the head of Tesla will make another visit to Germany.

Grünheide (AP) – Tesla boss Elon Musk is back in Germany just two months after his most recent visit.

According to information from the German press agency on Thursday, he flew to Berlin and wants to hold talks about the construction site of the US electric car maker’s first European factory in Grünheide near Berlin.

In the evening, a meeting with the Brandenburg Minister of Economy, Jörg Steinbach (SPD), is scheduled. The “Potsdamer Neuesten Nachrichten” had previously reported on the planned visit to Grünheide. Musk also expressed himself on Twitter: He wants to find first-class engineers and interview them personally on the site this Friday.

Tesla wants to start producing electric cars in Grünheide this summer. In the first stage, 500,000 vehicles are expected per year with around 12,000 employees. In the draft development plan for the Grünheide community, there is already talk of up to 40,000 employees in a possible fourth stage of expansion.

Environmental approval for the factory by the state of Brandenburg is pending, but Tesla is building with several interim approvals for individual construction steps. Environmentalists and residents fear that the construction will have negative consequences for nature.


Former Wirecard boss soon on U-Committee | Free Press

Berlin (dpa) – Former Wirecard boss Markus Braun is supposed to answer questions from a Bundestag inquiry committee in November.

In addition to other former supervisory boards and board members of the insolvent DAX company, the deputies will question him on November 19, opposition and coalition representatives confirmed in Berlin on Thursday.

Prosecutor sees Braun as one of the main culprits in “commercial gang fraud,” in which Wirecard’s executive suite is said to have set aside billions in fake deals over the years to keep the company afloat and cheat on credit. In this way, it is said that banks and investors have been defrauded up to 3,200 million euros.

“I would have Mr. Braun shown in his pajamas if necessary,” said left-wing politician Fabio De Masi. He owes answers to the public, said Florian Toncar of the FDP: “Also, this is the question of whether Wirecard was politically protected.”

In a videoconference prior to his questioning in committee, British Financial Times journalist Dan McCrum also spoke. He had already reported wrongdoing at Wirecard in 2015 and started investigations into the scandal at the former Dax group. In the process, he himself was criticized for his reports and was also targeted by the Munich prosecutor’s office.

Before the committee meeting, McCrum criticized the handling of the reports on the now insolvent payment processor and the former DAX group. “Since the Wirecard collapse, Germany has taken everything very seriously.” But it would have been better if his research for the Financial Times (FT) had been taken more seriously beforehand.

There were several errors in the scandal. Among other things, the audit firm EY, which audited Wirecard’s annual financial statements, “failed spectacularly.” McCrum said he was very pleased to have the opportunity to speak with the committee. He expected the parliamentary body to investigate in great detail the periodic failures “that allowed Wirecard to steal billions of euros from investors and banks.” He also hopes that lessons can be learned from the investigation that will help prevent such fraud, McCrum said.

“His statements cast a dark shadow on the quality and judgment of our financial supervision”, said the president of the Greens, Danyal Bayaz, facing the statements of the journalist of “FT”: “It is difficult to imagine that the Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz would like all this he knew nothing. “FDP MP Toncar added:” This is unprecedented in German criminal history. “

The Bundestag’s investigation committee is supposed to deal with the accounting scandal. The MPs also want to question several prominent politicians as witnesses, including Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU). In the summer, the Munich-based company granted air bookings worth 1.9 billion euros. After the accounting scandal, Braun and other managers were arrested in the summer. Police are still searching for former board member Jan Marsalek.


Söder: increase premiums for buying electric and hybrid cars | Free Press

Munich / Berlin (dpa) – Almost two weeks before the next main meeting on the state of the automotive industry, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder is proposing significantly extended purchase premiums for electric and hybrid vehicles.

“It is important that we maintain orders for a long time,” the CSU politician told a “Handelsblatt” online conference on Thursday.

Currently, the order books are well full in the hybrid and electronic business, thanks to increased subsidies in the summer. In view of the turmoil in the industry and the crisis in the crown, it must now be a matter of further stabilizing the automotive sector. But there are also doubts as to whether additional subsidies are decisive or whether the framework conditions for electric mobility should improve.

With regard to alternative units, the motto should be, according to Söder: “Extend, expand and perhaps establish more.” He named a period until at least 2024 or 2025. Until now, the premiums are valid until the end of 2021. The expanded financing for electric and hybrid cars could also have a “broader effect” of the measures for the entire automotive industry and, at the same time, “greater social acceptance” Achieve, believes the Prime Minister.

Another “automobile summit” between the federal government, industry representatives and trade unionists, as well as the heads of government of the three “automobile countries”, Bavaria, Lower Saxony and Baden-Württemberg, is scheduled for November 17. Parallel to the general decline in demand due to the pandemic, the industry is struggling with the costly switch to alternative units and increased digitization in production and products. Many jobs are at risk, especially with smaller providers. “We want to achieve transformation,” said the Bavarian head of government, in whose state the headquarters of BMW, Audi and MAN are located.

The premium for buying electric cars, which was already widened in the summer, generated a record 32,324 requests for financing in Germany in October, three times more than a year ago. 23,158 new electric cars were registered, meaning that one in twelve new vehicle registrations had only one electric motor. In general, state subsidies are limited to cars with alternative propulsion. Pure electric cars, for example, are financed according to the above concept with 9,000 euros: the federal government pays 6,000 euros, manufacturers the rest. Since mid-November, buyers can take advantage of federal and state programs at the same time.

Söder explained: “We still have to add and increase.” In the beginning, it had also asked for bonuses for the purchase of modern cars of pure diesel and gasoline to cushion the drop in sales caused by the virus crisis. Now he is campaigning for a ban on fossil burners from 2035: “I think that would be a good target. The climate pandemic will last longer than the corona pandemic. “

For Bearing Point management consultancy auto expert Stefan Penthin, premiums alone are neither ecologically nor economically successful. If politicians want to help car manufacturers and suppliers in the crisis, they are sometimes “bypassing the market” because they only affect 15 percent of vehicles. Due to high but limited subsidies, there are long wait times. And because it is not the purchase date but the registration date that is decisive, sales could collapse in mid-2021. Policy could improve here.

Also, automakers should do more to make sure there are enough charging stations, according to Penthin. Many consumers would still have doubts about the range. Furthermore, the environmental balance depends on the combination of electricity: with coal-fired electricity, electric cars could pollute the climate more than diesel.

Volkswagen, but also BMW, Daimler and Opel are significantly expanding their range of electric vehicles. VW’s flagship brand, for example, recently launched the Golf-class ID.3, and the ID.4 compact SUV will follow at the turn of the year. According to CEO Herbert Diess, the British luxury arm Bentley should also become an electric brand in the next four to five years.

In the interests of the auto industry, “a fundamental debate on Germany as an industrial location” is also necessary, Söder said, with a cut in corporate taxes of up to a quarter. Energy costs should also decrease. He said of the funding program planned by the federal government for auto suppliers: “I can only support that.”

The FDP is critical of the focus on additional premiums. “The German auto industry does not need any subsidies from Söder, but finally fair framework conditions,” said the vice-chairman of the Bundestag parliamentary group, Michael Theurer. Battery cars should not be trusted “unilaterally”. However, Söder also stressed that he thought it was important to be open to fuel cell technology and synthetic fuels.


Federal government will plug new billions of holes in air traffic | Free Press

Frankfurt / Main (dpa) – According to his own statements, Lufthansa chief Carsten Spohr does not need further state aid from the crown in the medium term.

Although the MDax group had to present red numbers on Thursday for the lucrative summer quarter, thanks to state aid it is in a good position compared to other companies in the sector. Despite all the problems, more than 10 billion euros in liquidity reserves are still a huge sum for the crane group to get through two harsh winters if necessary.

Neither most German airports nor the federally owned German Air Traffic Control (DFS) have been around for that long, whose finances will be the main focus of the federal government’s virtual “air traffic summit” this Friday. Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) wants to make airports happy with a billion dollar injection and awaits approval from the finance minister.

According to the associations, the situation is more than serious. “There must be no irreparable structural breakdowns,” says BDL industry association CEO Matthias von Randow. “With the second de facto blockade we are faced with job cuts. Out of around 260,000 jobs in German airlines and at airports alone, around 60,000 are seriously threatened. “

As an “important sign and first step,” the federal government should reimburse airports for the costs incurred in the first shutdown to keep infrastructure open politically, says Ralph Beisel of the airport association ADV. These are operating costs of 740 million euros, a sum that should mainly benefit small and medium-sized airports.

The deliberations will also have to involve the federal states, which often together with neighboring municipalities own the airports that are desirable for structural policy. Even before the crisis, very few operating companies made a profit. The outlook is equally bleak if flight operations are reduced to years. Paderborn-Lippstadt Airport has already filed for bankruptcy under its own management, and other locations could soon follow.

For many environmentalists, the German structure with 21 international airports and 10 regional airports and landing sites is too lush anyway. In North Rhine-Westphalia alone there are six international airports, the easternmost in Paderborn, less than 100 kilometers from Kassel-Calden, a grave of millions in North Hesse.

Obsolete structures shouldn’t get billions of grants, believes the eco-oriented traffic club VCD. “Instead of further expanding airports and allocating more funds to regional airports that were not profitable before the pandemic, what is needed is a socially responsible restructuring in the direction of the environmental association,” says VCD President Kerstin Haarmann. State aid should only be awarded to companies that meet clear climate requirements and have a sustainable business model, said Green MEPs Sven-Christian Kindler and Daniela Wagner. This is not the case at many regional airports.

The federal government should also provide future aid to troubled airports in the form of repayable loans that can be converted to equity. This is what Federal Aviation Coordinator Thomas Jarzombek (CDU) suggested. He told the Rheinische Post: “We want to maintain the infrastructure. But if the general public helps, in the end they should get the money back with interest. ”In the case of bonds, the state would become a shareholder if the money was not returned.

Another topic at the summit is the federally owned Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, which could have liquidity problems due to ongoing commission losses. The head of DFS, Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, had calculated the loss of sales for 2025 at up to 2 billion euros. Despite a new promissory note loan of more than € 500 million and cost reduction measures, the GmbH still needs help, which the BDL has estimated at € 1.2 billion. Here the federal government has to step in as the owner: “Otherwise, unrealistically high rates would have to be imposed when air traffic restarts, which the airlines could not handle,” von Randow said.

At this point, Lufthansa would also benefit indirectly, as would the demand to completely waive aviation security fees that were postponed until now during the crisis. At the moment, the crane is flying with the ballast of another billion losses in the Corona 20/21 winter. The write-offs of the reactors and kerosene contracts that are no longer needed have increased the loss for the third quarter to just under 2 billion euros, as the group reported in Frankfurt on Thursday. After nine months, the bottom line is now less than 5.6 billion with sales of 11 billion euros.

In the current latest quarter, Lufthansa flight operations will continue to peak at a quarter of previous capacity due to the corona pandemic. Lufthansa expects advantages from its central system, especially established in Frankfurt, as many point-to-point connections in Europe are no longer working and competitors have discontinued their offerings. In addition, due to the high demand for cargo, the airline wants to reuse more converted passenger aircraft and benefit from the distribution of anti-corona vaccines. In temperature controlled drug transport, Lufthansa Cargo and the Swiss subsidiary are world leaders, said CEO Carsten Spohr when presenting interim results.


There is no quick recovery after the historic economic crisis | Free Press

Brussels (dpa) – According to the new EU forecast, the economic crisis in the crown will last longer than expected. After this year’s historic collapse, the European Union’s economy is expected to grow again from 2021, but relatively slowly.

In 2022, the previous strength will not normally be reached again. He never really trusted the “V” – strong recession and equally strong rebound – EU Economic Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said Thursday. “Now we know for sure that it will not come.”

After a solid third quarter, the forecast figures for 2020 are slightly better than in summer, and Germany is doing slightly better than other countries. However, the recession is unprecedented.

According to this, economic output in the 19 states of the euro zone will collapse by an average of 7.8 percent this year and by 7.4 percent in the 27 states of the European Union. For next year, growth of 4.2 percent is forecast for the 19 euro zone countries and 4.1 percent for the EU-27, and then 3 percent for each of 2022.

According to this forecast, Germany will come out of 2020 better than average with less than 5.6 percent, but the Commission has set lower growth rates of 3.5 percent in the next year and 2.6 percent in the following year. This year’s figures are devastating in Spain (minus 12.4 percent), Italy (minus 9.9 percent) and France (minus 9.4 percent). A faster recovery is sometimes assumed in countries in crisis. The background of both is, among other things, the strong dependence on tourism.

In July, the Brussels authority assumed that economic output in the euro zone would decline by 8.7 percent and in the EU as a whole by 8.3 percent. After a drop of more than 11 percent due to the pandemic lockout in the spring, the economy grew more than 12 percent in the third quarter in both the euro zone and the EU.

Gentiloni now referred to new risks due to the second corona wave and the new pandemic requirements. Therefore, the expected economic recovery next year will be significantly weaker than expected. In July, the Commission had assumed growth of 6.1 percent for the euro zone and 5.8 percent for the EU as a whole. The economic recovery has now been halted and will initially remain incomplete, Gentiloni said.

According to this assessment, the grand finale is yet to come, especially for the European labor market. The unprecedented bridge aid and short-term job aid have slowed the rise in unemployment, but it will continue to rise: in the eurozone from 7.5 percent in 2019 and 8.3 percent this year to 9.4 percent in 2021. a quota of 8.9 percent assumed in the countries of the common currency.

Due to huge expenditures in fighting the crisis, budget deficits and national debt are growing rapidly. Before the pandemic, the average deficit ratio in the euro area in 2019 was 0.6 percent of gross domestic product: this year it will be 8.8 percent, next year 6.4 percent and in 2022 will remain 4.7 percent. According to Gentiloni, the debt ratio will grow to 102 percent of economic output in 2020.

Normally, EU states cannot have a budget deficit of more than 3 percent and a debt ratio of no more than 60 percent. But these rules of the Stability and Growth Pact are suspended because of the crisis, at least until the end of 2021. “That does not mean that it will end at the end of 2021,” said the commissioner.

From their point of view, the agreed € 750 billion program can help against the crisis, which, like the EU budgetary framework, is not yet fully resolved. A quick agreement is crucial, Gentiloni said.

European Green Party politician Sven Giegold sees an even more important crisis fire brigade: the European Central Bank, which took countermeasures shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic with a gigantic bond-buying program. “As was the case during the euro crisis, the ECB is also a stabilizing factor in the crown crisis,” Giegold told the German news agency. “The stability of the euro should teach the notorious critics of the ECB that they are wrong.”