Mass job cuts at Thyssenkrupp: clear cut at the Ruhr group

Thyssenkrupp continues to use the red pencil after losing billions: 11,000 jobs are to be lost in the next three years.

Thyssenkrupp uses red pencil: 5,000 more jobs are to be cut Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd / dpa

ESSEN afp | The industrial group Thyssenkrupp intends to cut almost twice as many jobs over the next three years as previously planned. In addition to the 6,000 job cuts announced in May 2019, 5,000 more jobs are now to be cut, as Thyssenkrupp announced on Thursday when it presented its balance sheet for the fiscal year until the end of September.

“We are in the middle of the largest restructuring process since Thyssenkrupp was founded. This also includes further job cuts, unfortunately there is no getting around it, ”explained Chief Human Resources Officer Oliver Burkhard.

Operational layoffs are “still the last resort,” assured the manager. “At the moment, however, we cannot explicitly rule them out.”

Thyssenkrupp made a net loss of 5.5 billion euros in the past year. Incoming orders fell by 17 percent compared to the previous year, sales by 15 percent to 28.9 billion euros, as the group announced. In the fourth quarter from July to the end of September, however, business “stabilized”.

Pandemic is a tremendous endurance test

Group boss Martina Merz explained that the corona pandemic was “a tremendous test” for Thyssenkrupp. Nevertheless, the company achieved important milestones in the restructuring of the group. Merz mentioned the sale of the elevator business, which had brought in over 17 billion euros.

The group wants to decide on the future of the loss-making steel division by spring. Merz explained: “We are not yet where we need to be. The next steps can be more painful than the previous ones. We’ll have to go anyway. “

So far, Thyssenkrupp says it has cut 3,600 jobs. 7,400 more are to be eliminated in the next three years. A total of around 100,000 people work for the group.

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Stahl boss Tim Hartmann resigns

Tim Hartmann, the strong man of the Saarland steel industry, throws down in the middle of the crisis. The fifty-one-year-old announced his immediate departure just one day after the ailing steel company Thyssen-Krupp announced a new austerity program and the shedding of another 5,000 jobs. According to the Montan-Stiftung-Saar, Hartmann resigned all offices because of “different opinions about the future strategic direction”.

Helmut Bünder

Bernd Freytag

Bernd Freytag

Business correspondent Rhein-Neckar-Saar based in Mainz.

Hartmann was appointed just under two years ago and given more power than any other steel manager in the Saar. Thyssen-Krupp’s former steel boss Karl-Ulrich Köhler will take over his duties as CEO of both Saarstahl AG and Dillinger Hütte, as well as the position of managing director of the holding company Stahl-Holding-Saar (SHS). In the meantime, the remaining board members are supposed to run the business.

The crisis at Thyssen-Krupp and the resuming debates about a Deutsche Stahl AG did not play a role in the farewell, said Reinhard Störmer, chairman of the board of trustees of the Montan-Stiftung-Saar, in a hastily called press conference on Friday. The foundation owns both companies. The topic of “new shareholders” in the foundation is, according to Störmers, “not discussed at the present time”. In today’s structure, it is in a position to preserve the independence of the Saarland steel industry.

Open-die forge mutated into a renovation case

Rather, according to his presentation, the foundation is pushing for faster successes in the renovation. Störmer said, “we expect a higher implementation speed”. Two bad years shouldn’t be followed by a third bad year. In addition, he missed a specific concept of how to deal with the “CO2 issue” and how to address politics with it.

The sister companies Saarstahl and Dillinger Hütte together generate EUR 4.3 billion in sales and, with 13,000 employees, are still one of the largest industrial employers in Saarland. Mainly geared towards specialties, they came through the crisis better than many others. The overcapacities in industry and the cheap imported steel from China are also causing considerable problems for the duo. In addition, the energy transition and the shale gas boom in America had left their mark on Saarstahl’s balance sheet and made Hartmann’s start difficult.

The open-die forge built by its predecessors for 450 million euros mutated into a renovation case. High-performance turbines and generators for new power plants were no longer in demand. In 2019, Saarstahl and Dillinger Hütte together lost almost a quarter of a billion euros. 2020 will “definitely not get better,” said Störmer.

Saarstahl is dependent on the auto industry

Under Hartmann’s aegis, the companies have already launched an austerity program that has lost 1,500 jobs; another 1000 are to be outsourced. Both groups had ruled out redundancies for operational reasons. This “social compatibility” is of course also owed to the owner, after all, the Montan Foundation was brought into being after the first major steel crisis to keep steel jobs on the Saar as possible. After the Saarstahl bankruptcy, the then state government reached an agreement in 2001 with the insolvency administrator and industrial representatives on the “smelter solution” that still exists today.

In addition to the savings program and the close amalgamation of Saarstahl and Dillinger Hütte, Hartmann had concentrated on the transition to green, hydrogen-powered steel production. Attempts to bring the Saarland steel cookers closer together had also been made repeatedly before.

Both are already producing crude steel together. A merger is hardly possible as long as the steel group Arcelor-Mittal has a 30 percent stake in Dillinger Hütte. The sister companies also serve different markets: Saarstahl is dependent on the automotive industry for wire and steel. Dillinger Hütte supplies heavy plates for pipes and infrastructure constructions.

From 2001 to 2009, Head of Thyssen-Krupp steel

The designated successor Köhler, who has been on the foundation’s board of trustees for some time, announced further cost reductions on Friday. The integration of the two companies still offers “synergetic possibilities”. He called for loss-making sub-companies to be checked for their continued existence. He also mentioned the possibility of outsourcing other jobs. The holding company also had a look at the Thyssen-Krupp heavy plate plant in Hüttenheim, which is for sale.

Thyssen plans to sell or close the plant by the end of the year, and the 800 employees will be offered other jobs in the group. Köhler left it open whether the Saarlanders would submit an offer. The 64-year-old was CEO of the Thyssen-Krupp steel division from 2001 to 2009 and had to go into a dispute over escalating costs for a new plant in Brazil. Until 2016 he was responsible for the European business of the steel group Tata Steel. He then moved to the Hessian medium-sized company Rittal as managing director.

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Comment: Thyssen-Krupp in dire straits

Et is the next shock for the Ruhr area: Thyssen-Krupp wants to cut 11,000 jobs, almost twice as many as expected. Not even that will be enough to stop the Essen-based company’s financial bleeding quickly enough. Fear is widespread among the 100,000 or more employees. Martina Merz’s board of directors intends to sharpen its plans for the restructuring of the company as early as the spring.

It was a pitch-black year and a low point in the history of the former industrial icon. Financially with his back to the wall, he had to sell his best business, the elevator division, in the spring. But the billions in revenue melt away. The linchpin for the future of the group is steel with its 27,000 employees. Blast furnaces and smelting works are an open wound through which millions of dollars trickle away month after month. Improvement is not in sight. All over the world there is high excess capacity, and more and more steel is pushing into Europe. With Corona and the slowdown in sales in the auto industry, the markets have slipped completely. At the same time, climate protection is confronting steelmakers with huge investments: The conversion to CO2-free steel will devour billions in the coming years.

Externally, the group keeps the option open to bring its steel business back into shape on its own. But there are more likely strategic reasons for this: While steel was still considered to be one of the bearers of hope after the sale of the elevator division, negotiations are now being carried out on a complete sale. The British company Liberty Steel recently submitted an initial offer for this. That is also why the calls for the state are now louder. IG Metall distrusts the investor from Great Britain, it is calling for state participation.

Behind this is also the idea of ​​reviving the old plan of an internal German solution in the form of Deutsche Stahl AG. With the state of North Rhine-Westphalia as a shareholder in Thyssen-Krupp, the talks with Salzgitter AG and its major shareholder in Lower Saxony, and perhaps also with Saar industry, could be raised to a political level. Thyssen-Krupp has not yet given up hope of a German alliance either.

The fear of a “sell-out” is misleading

Industrial logic is another matter. There is a reason that all the talks that have been held between the companies have ended in dead ends. Obviously, there was a lack of convincing scope that would have made such an alliance interesting for the smaller partners.

It is correct: if the ecological transformation to CO2-free steel is to succeed, the state will have to come to the rescue financially. It starts with the supply of green hydrogen, which is to replace coal and coke in the medium term. Without start-up funding, the development of the hydrogen economy is just as unthinkable as the necessary retrofitting of the blast furnaces. The companies simply lack the financial strength for this. This discussion is now being overshadowed by the current difficulties caused by the corona epidemic. The temptation is great that the necessary care will be lost and necessary conversion aids will be mixed up with questionable rescue subsidies.

The steel industry in Germany may be “systemically relevant”, but the ownership of Thyssen-Krupp is certainly not. The fear of a “sell-out” also fueled by the SPD is misleading. It’s not about who owns the shares, but about the best solution for the blast furnaces, steelworks and their employees. And in view of the mismanagement of the past few years, while Thyssen-Krupp has criminally neglected its steel business out of financial difficulties, the question arises in retrospect whether it would not have gone better with a European steel partner. The takeover offer from Liberty Steel could open up a new opportunity after the failed merger attempt with Tata Steel.

The devastating business figures increase the pressure on politics. Too many jobs are at stake. According to the standards applied so far, it is of course difficult to justify direct state aid or even participation. The emergency has a lot to do with years of management failure and only partly with the consequences of the pandemic, which the federal government’s economic stabilization fund is supposed to cushion. Unlike Lufthansa and TUI, where business ran brilliantly until the outbreak of the pandemic, the Essen-based industrial group was already deeply in crisis before Corona. Politicians are faced with a delicate decision. A dam could threaten.

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Thyssen-Krupp share: Billions in loss and job cuts

Thyssen-Krupp

CEO Martina Merz visits one of the Group’s steelworks.

(Photo: dpa)

Düsseldorf After a fiscal year marked by heavy losses, Thyssen-Krupp wants to tighten its austerity program. As the Essen-based industrial group announced on Thursday when the annual figures were presented, in addition to the 6000 positions planned so far, another 5000 are to be cut in the next three years.

With the tightening, the management board is reacting to the corona crisis, which hit the steel division and the automotive business particularly hard. Without the proceeds that the Ruhr group achieved with the sale of its elevator division, Thyssen-Krupp posted an annual deficit of 5.5 billion euros after taxes in the past year 2019/20, which ended on September 30. Investors reacted sensitively and sent the stock almost eight percent into the red at the stock market launch on Thursday.

CEO Martina Merz said the pandemic was a stress test for the group. “Despite the headwind, we achieved important milestones in the restructuring of the group,” says the manager. However, the company is not yet where it needs to be. The workforce prepared them for tough cuts. “The next steps can be more painful than the previous ones. We’ll have to go anyway. “

The steel division had to cope with the biggest drop in earnings by far, with earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) falling from minus 123 million euros in the previous year to minus 2.7 billion euros. The group recorded further losses in the automotive business, which fell to minus 1.2 billion euros after a loss of 126 million euros in the previous year.

Only the marine division had a positive operating result in the past year, which, however, at around 13 million euros, is by far not enough to cover the high losses in the other divisions (industrial components: minus 29 million euros, plant engineering: minus 265 million euros, materials trading: minus 733 million euros).

Elevator sales stabilized

However, the proceeds from the sale of the elevator division, which account for 15 billion euros, ensure stability. The bottom line is that the entire group shows a net profit of just under 9.6 billion euros. However, the group does not want to pay a dividend, also because CEO Merz is also calculating high losses of millions in the coming year.

However, the sale is a blessing for the balance sheet. After Thyssen-Krupp struggled with a high mountain of debt for years, the Ruhr group can now fully offset its liabilities. The annual report shows net financial assets of more than five billion euros. At around 10.2 billion euros, equity exceeds the remaining obligations.

CFO Klaus Keysberg said the Elevator transaction laid the foundation for restructuring the company. “At the same time – as announced – we were able to reduce the previous year-end measures for cash management to a normal level and thus further improve the transparency and continuity of business development.”

After the sale of its most profitable business, Thyssen-Krupp wants to align itself more strongly as a group of companies in which the individual subsidiaries should work more freely and independently than before. The Board of Management is examining various options for numerous transactions for which it is unclear to what extent they can be continued competitively within the Group.

graphic

The group is also currently conducting sales negotiations for the steel division. The British rival Liberty Steel, who wants to take over the business completely, has been the only interested party so far. In the spring, the company now announced that a fundamental decision should be made as to what will happen to the former core business.

For the coming year Thyssen-Krupp is expecting a recovery in the business, but nevertheless a loss in the three-digit million range. The cash flow before sales and takeovers will be around minus 1.5 billion euros, after minus 5.5 billion euros in the past financial year 2019/20.

More: Thyssen-Krupp has to write off billions on the steel division.

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Bayer in crisis – the next fall for a German legend

Dhe recent German economic history provides numerous examples of over-ambition and delicate heroism: Whether Jürgen Schrempp, who once called the first so-called global company into (short) life with the US automaker Chrysler at a “wedding in heaven”, or Thyssen-Krupp -Granden from Gerhard Cromme to Heinrich Hiesinger, who wanted to keep their unrelated and unrelated mixed combination under all circumstances and against all common sense – in the end, the corporate leaders went down in the yearbooks as capital destroyers.

A similar fate now threatens Werner Baumann, 58, CEO of Bayer AG, established in 1863, which produces pesticides and seeds on a large scale, as well as prescription and non-prescription drugs such as aspirin and most recently with sales of – only – 43.5 Billion euros was recorded in the registers.

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ThyssenKrupp-News: Group has to write off billions

Thyssen-Krupp in Duisburg

Thyssen-Krupp has been looking for a buyer for its steel division, the heart of which is the steelworks in Duisburg, since spring.

(Photo: Imago)

Frankfurt, Düsseldorf The industrial group Thyssen-Krupp fell operationally deep into the red in the past fiscal year. The main reason for this is the steel division, which was hit hard by the economic crisis as a result of the pandemic. Because of the deteriorated business prospects, the value of the metallurgical area will be corrected downwards by more than a billion euros, as the Handelsblatt has learned from corporate circles.

Thyssen-Krupp plans to present its balance sheet for the 2019/20 fiscal year ended at the end of September on Thursday. A spokesman declined to comment on the business development. The planned sale of the steel division should be at the center of the balance sheet.

According to the circles, a loss from ongoing operations is added to the billions in depreciation. The so-called free capital flow of the steel division was more than minus 1.7 billion euros in the reporting period, as it was said. This figure shows the amount that actually gapes between costs and income. The steel division has burned more money than seldom before.

The depreciations and the ongoing losses show the pressure to act that the board of directors around the chairwoman Martina Merz is under. Thyssen-Krupp has been looking for a buyer for its steel division, the heart of which is the steelworks in Duisburg, since spring.

So far the interest is manageable. Only the British steel investor Sanjeev Gupta had placed an offer at the company’s headquarters in Essen through his company Liberty in mid-October. In the past few weeks, the steel company has given further details about its financial strength to dispel doubts at Thyssen-Krupp. There were concerns in the industry that Gupta could manage a takeover.

Buyer must make up for losses

With the balance sheet presentation on Thursday it becomes clear how much a bidder has to bring. The buyer must be able to compensate for the losses on his own, it said. So far, potential interested parties have not had a look at the steel division’s books. “Thursday will bring clarity,” said a person familiar with the process.

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State entry at TUI likely

Dhe Canaries stayed with the travel company TUI. Holidaymakers can still go there, from this Sunday on, however, only with a negative corona test. Elsewhere, it looks even worse for Europe’s largest tourism provider. Travel warnings, requirements and customers’ fear of the virus ensure that TUI is running out of money again. The company has already received around 3 billion euros in loans from the state, and further financial aid is now being negotiated. The talk is of up to 1.8 billion euros. The industrial group Thyssen-Krupp is also hoping for a capital injection from the state.

Christian Müßgens

Julia Löhr

Sven Astheimer

Sven Astheimer

Responsible editor for corporate reporting.

According to information from the FAZ, in the case of TUI, the federal government is in principle ready to provide the group with around 70,000 employees with fresh money. According to reports, there are still discussions between the SPD-led Ministry of Finance and the CDU-led economic department as to whether the federal government should participate directly in TUI or whether new loans are sufficient. Due to the company’s already high debt, a government entry is likely.

The opposition is following this with eagle eyes – and is calling for a fundamental rethink in rescue policy. “The federal government finally needs a real participation strategy that describes when and how large loans and recapitalization measures are granted,” said Green parliamentary group leader Anton Hofreiter of the FAZ. Structural change will be delayed. “State aid for TUI only makes sense if it is linked to clear guidelines on climate protection and employee protection. The exclusion of redundancies for operational reasons must be agreed at least for a transitional period. ”Hofreiter also calls for an exchange of aircraft fleets and requirements for low-carbon travel.

The travel company has already launched a program that plans to cut 8,000 jobs. When the federal government joined Lufthansa at the end of May, a discussion broke out about possible requirements for state aid. The SPD rejected the planned job cuts, the Greens wanted the federally supported group to be allowed to offer fewer domestic flights. Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) rejected these demands. The federal government does not interfere in business policy. The aim must be for companies to quickly become profitable again, he said.

According to an internal list by the Federal Ministry of Economics and the Federal Ministry of Finance, companies in Germany have so far submitted a good 95,000 applications for loans from the state-owned KfW Bank, with a volume of just under 58 billion euros. The Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF) has so far supported five companies with 6.5 billion euros, the majority of which is accounted for by the silent partnership and the twenty percent stake in Lufthansa.

“The federal government could have bought the entire TUI for the aid now”

TUI received its first aid loan of 1.8 billion euros from KfW in April. The credit line was later increased by 1.05 billion euros. In addition, the federal government signed a convertible bond for 150 million euros, which, to put it simply, it can exchange for up to 9 percent of the shares. The third package has been negotiated since October. The reason is that after the brief recovery in business in early summer, the crisis has returned with full force. For the current first quarter of the 2020/21 financial year (October to September), TUI expects a monthly outflow of funds “in the low to mid three-digit million range”.

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Thyssen-Krupp is to negotiate with the government over billions in aid

Thyssen Krupp factory

In addition to the funds for the green steel project, Thyssen-Krupp is also negotiating with the economic stabilization fund.

(Photo: dpa)

Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Berlin When Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) meets for top-level talks with managers of the German steel industry in December, both sides will have a lot to talk about. For months the industry has been waiting for an announcement from Berlin as to the extent to which the federal government wants to support companies in the transformation to climate-neutral production processes.

The National Steel Summit, which was actually planned for this day, was canceled on the one hand because of the current pandemic situation, but also because there was nothing to announce. Because reliable results for the implementation of the steel action plan, which Altmaier had agreed on with the companies and IG Metall in the summer, are not available – while some companies are now up to their necks due to the corona crisis.

One of them is Thyssen-Krupp. In order to alleviate the need, the group is currently talking to representatives of the Federal Ministries for Economics and Finance about possible state aid. The talks so far have been vague; According to industry circles, no concrete sums were discussed.

A need of five billion euros named by the Bloomberg news agency is too high, said several people familiar with the processes. “In addition, it is not clear whether we really need the money.” Management had sought contact with politicians as a precaution so that it could act quickly if necessary, it said.

Like its competitors Salzgitter and the Saarland steelworks, the group is hoping for financial support when converting its plants so that the material can be produced in a climate-neutral manner. Altmaier had already announced that the federal government would help the industry financially with the transformation. The pressure is enormous: According to Thyssen-Krupp alone, the changeover will cost up to ten billion euros in the coming years.

The management of the Essen company needs clarity quickly. The long-established company has been looking for a new owner for its steel division since spring. CEO Martina Merz wants to concentrate Thyssen-Krupp on trading and component production in order to become more independent from the cyclical steel business.

State aid should make possible deal with Salzgitter more attractive

The group of bidders has so far been manageable. Only the British Liberty group has officially submitted an offer. But the Swedish steel maker SSAB is also interested. The competitor Salzgitter, favored by the management and the union IG Metall, rejects a merger with reference to the financial risks.

The board of Thyssen-Krupp has also asked the state for support in order to dispel Lower Saxony’s concerns. It is about more than helping to transform the steelworks. It’s about money for day-to-day business. “The contact persons are the federal government as well as the state of North Rhine-Westphalia,” says the company.

Thyssen-Krupp threw off its debt burden by selling its elevator division, but the conglomerate is losing a lot of money with its steel division. As a result of the corona crisis, the loss from the smelters adds up to well over a billion euros. The company did not want to comment on the events.

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With state aid, Thyssen-Krupp could expand its room for maneuver in the sales negotiations for the steel division. The financial injection from the state could also take the form of a participation. “With the state as the owner, we would have an alternative to Liberty and SSAB,” it said.

Then a deal could also be interesting for Salzgitter, as the economic risks with the state on board would be lower. He would also have a greater interest in supporting the green transformation financially, said a representative of the union.

IG Metall has been drumming for weeks for the federal government or the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Thyssen-Krupp employs the vast majority of its 27,000 steel employees. So far, however, the politicians responsible have shown themselves to be more reluctant to involve the state. Federal Minister of Economics Altmaier said a few weeks ago that government support on the way to green steel was necessary. But he doesn’t think nationalization is the right answer.

A sale is also conceivable

The North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) made a similar statement at an IG Metall rally in October. State participation is currently “not on the agenda,” said Laschet. The politician is currently applying for the party chairmanship and is likely to have difficulties getting the conservative wing of the party to participate in the corporation, which has been ailing for many years. On Friday, the NRW-SPD wants to bring an application for a state participation of 25 percent in the steel division to a vote in the state parliament.

While CEO Martina Merz wants to keep many options open as long as possible, similar to the sale of the elevator division, the employee representatives on the supervisory board also see entry into the state as the only solution. The deputy supervisory board chairman and IG Metall board member Jürgen Kerner recently said in an interview that there is no other way to save jobs in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Kerner confirmed the talks between the federal government, the state and companies. It is primarily about the question of how a state entry can be realized in accordance with the EU state aid rules, said the vice chief inspector.

The fact that Thyssen-Krupp received more than 17 billion euros from the sale of its elevator division this year is likely to make the talks more difficult. A large part of the money flowed into the repayment of old debts, for the financial year that ended in September the group had promised a negative cash flow of up to six billion euros.

More: SSAB wants to buy part of Tata Steel – that should be a problem for Thyssen-Krupp

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Back on the streets (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

“Go to jail”: demonstrators on Saturday in Jerusalem

In Israel, the first, albeit very minor, easing of the corona measures that have existed since September 18 came into force on Sunday: daycare centers and preschools for children under six years of age are allowed to resume operations. Restaurants must remain closed, but are allowed to sell food outside the home. It is possible to work again in companies or parts of companies in which there is no public traffic. The ban on moving more than 1,000 meters from your own home without “compelling reasons” has been lifted. People can meet or visit again. However, the upper limit of ten people indoors and 20 outdoors must not be exceeded.

However, two important conditions remain: All the easing measures that have now been announced only apply if no more than 2,000 new infections with the corona virus are found per day. That has been the case for a few days after a record was set in the country about three weeks ago with almost 8,000 new infections reported. In addition, as the prime minister’s office announced at the weekend, the “R value” (number of reproductions, an infected person infects this number of people on average) must not exceed 0.8. This value is based only on estimates and fluctuates repeatedly by several tenths at short intervals. In Germany, according to the Robert Koch Institute, it was 1.22 on Friday and 1.40 on Saturday.

Since according to official statements, measures should apparently be put into effect purely mechanically in accordance with these upper limits, these relaxations can be lifted at any time, in the worst case even from one day to the next. The same applies to the gradual relief that the government is promising for the next few weeks and months. For example, school operations should only be resumed up to the fifth grade when the number of new infections registered daily drops to 1,000. A maximum of 250 new infections may even be detected for classroom lessons for older students.

The same applies to other future easing, such as the reopening of restaurants and small shops, on which the material existence of hundreds of thousands of people depends. Nobody can say when the existing bans will be lifted. Nor can it be foreseen when these will come into force again in the event of only minor deviations from the specified key figures. As a token of their desperation and protest, small retailers have distributed their wares on the streets or publicly burned their stocks.

With the easing, the regular demonstrations for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is on trial for fraud, bribery and embezzlement, will gain further popularity. Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in front of the Supreme Court on Wednesday and demanded that the “Crime Minister” also be investigated because of his possible role in the so-called submarine scandal. Many participants had come to Jerusalem in several convoys from other parts of the country and had converted their vehicles into fantasy submarines.

Their demand was denied Thursday by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who sees no reason to reopen the investigation against Netanyahu on this matter despite important new statements on the matter. This does not bode well for the criminal proceedings that began in the spring, in which the prime minister has to appear in court in person from January.

The scandal also involves several surface warships that Israel and the submarines bought from Thyssen-Krupp. The accusation is, on the one hand, that the shipbuilding contract – without the legally required open tender – was clandestinely awarded to the German armaments company. And on the other hand, in contrast to the head of government, the Israeli Defense Ministry had denied the military need to acquire three more after the purchase of six German submarines that had already been completed.

The ex-representative of Thyssen-Krupp in Israel, Michael Ganor, allegedly distributed several million euros in bribes to Israelis up to 2015, which were important for the two deals to come about. Among them were Netanyahu’s lawyer and cousin David Shimron. The other alleged beneficiaries were also close to the prime minister.

Nevertheless, a direct involvement of Netanyahu in the machinations has not yet been proven. The Israeli broadcaster reported last Monday Channel 12 however, from a previously unknown written and sworn testimony of the former Director General in the Ministry of Defense, Dan Harel, several months ago. According to his account, Netanyahu pressured him and then Defense Minister Moshe Jaalon to agree to deal with Thyssen-Krupp. Ultimately, however, they were passed over.

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