Kretschmann and Källenius rule out takeovers

Ola Källenius (left) and Winfried Kretschmann

CEOs and prime ministers don’t want to make the same mistakes in terms of industrial policy as they did with robot manufacturer Kuka.

(Photo: imago images/Arnulf Hettrich)

Stuttgart China has been expanding its influence in Europe through investments and infrastructure projects for more than two decades. There have also been spectacular corporate takeovers, as did robotic manufacturer Kuka six years ago. But tensions between the economic bloc are rising and buyers from the Far East are facing mounting resistance.

German politics now draws the red line more clearly than ever: the carmaker Mercedes-Benz must remain German. The scenario where two major shareholders of Mercedes China Baic and Geely founder Eric Li’s investment firm Tenaciou3 would get a blocking minority in the Dax group was ruled out by Baden-Württemberg Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann.

“We will not allow that at all,” the Green politician told Handelsblatt in a double interview with Mercedes boss Ola Källenius. “We certainly won’t make the same mistake that robot manufacturer Kuka made.”

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Ambrose Fernandez

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