July 30, 2018 / 11:11 AM / in 3 months

Germany open to FDI despite 50Hertz blocking move - spokeswoman

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany is open to foreign direct investment, a German government spokeswoman said, despite its move last week to prevent China’s State Grid from acquiring a 20 percent stake in high-voltage transmission network operator 50Hertz.

FILE PHOTO: Part of a transformer substation hosted by 50Hertz Transmission Company is pictured in Neuenhagen, Germany, March 6, 2014. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz/File Photo

State bank KfW agreed on Friday to take a 20 percent stake in high50Hertz, fending off an offer from China’s State Grid.

Asked whether last week’s move meant China was not regarded as a “reliable energy provider” by the government, spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer told a regular news conference in Monday that Berlin had a responsibility to ensure reliable energy supplies.

“The German government is open to foreign direct investment,” she said. “At the same time, the government has for political reasons a very great interest in protecting critical energy infrastructure. The population and economy expect a reliable energy supply.”

Her colleague, Economy Ministry spokeswoman Tanja Alemany, said that although the 20 percent stake sought by China was lower than the 25 percent threshold at which the government can probe non-EU foreign investments, her ministry was “examining how we can further protect critical infrastructure.”

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Paul Carrel

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