Germany stalls Chinese takeover
THE German government has withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.
Germany’s Aixtron said the economy ministry had cancelled the socalled “clearance certificate” it issued last month that paved the way for the 670 million euro (US$730 million) takeover by China’s Grand Chip Investment to go ahead.
The ministry will now reopen a review of the “proceedings in connection with the takeover offer by Grand Chip Investment”, Aixtron said, adding that it had been informed of the decision last week.
Matthias Machnig, state secretary in the economy ministry said the U-turn came after “the government received previously unknown information”.
The unexpected move comes at a time of concern over a string of Chinese takeovers in Germany, which has prompted German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel to urge Brussels to shield key EU industries from foreign investors.
Mr Gabriel was particularly alarmed by appliance giant Midea’s purchase of leading German robotics firm Kuka in August, which fed into fears of high-end intellectual property, technology and know-how being transferred to China.
A spokesperson for the economy ministry confirmed that approval for the Aixtron deal had been withdrawn pending review, but declined to shed light on the reasons behind the move.
If the outcome of the review is negative the deal could in theory be cancelled altogether, she told reporters in Berlin. –