SWFs climbing the German wall

July 21, 2010

The Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment’s latest report on foreign direct investment looks at inward flows to Germany.  Things look like they were a bit better last year than the year before, apparently.

But buried in the report from Aschaffenburg University economist Thomas Jost is some interesting data regarding  sovereign wealth funds.

In April last year, Germany responded to concerns about the influence of sovereign wealth funds by introducing rules allowing for a review of planned acquisitions by non-EU/EFTA foreign companies and SWFs of existing German companies.

According to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, pace Jost, between the introduction of the rules and May this year, 34 companies applied for so-called certificated of non-objection. All got their approval within an average of two weeks and none were referred for a special  review.

So on the face of it, the law has not stopped inward FDI into Germany, but there are questions that need to be answered. How many of the 34 applicants were sovereign wealth funds? How much have the rules put SWFs and other companies off?  As Jost puts it:

Despite the rather positive experiences with the new law so far, this more restrictive investment law could send a wrong signal to potential foreign investors.

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