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Germany Shoots Down Satellite Tech Maker’s Sale to Chinese Buyer

By Yang Ge / Dec 09, 2020 05:31 PM / World

Photo: Visual China

Photo: Visual China

China’s satellite-building aspirations have come crashing back to earth, at least for one company that was trying to buy a German space technology firm.

The pending purchase of German satellite and radar technology maker IMST by state-controlled missile maker China Aerospace and Industry Group (CASIC) has been shot down by Berlin over national security concerns, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing a government document.

The setback comes as Western governments grow wary of their technology being acquired by Chinese buyers, who are often more driven by Beijing policy objectives than commercial factors. The U.S. has led that charge by killing a number of deals in recent years, many of those in the sensitive sector for high-tech microchips that power many of the world’s gadgets.

The document seen by Reuters said Berlin sees IMST as an important provider of satellite communication, radar and radio technology, and its expertise is also needed for construction of the latest and future telecommunications networks.

An IMST spokeswoman declined to comment, and CASIC was not immediately available for comment.

Germany has lowered its threshold for reviewing and potentially blocking takeovers by foreign companies, saying all deals involving a 10% or greater stake purchase must now get such reviews, versus a previous 25% threshold. It has blocked a number of planned purchases by Chinese buyers, including the 2018 takeover of German toolmaker Leifeld by Yantai Taihai in 2018; and a bid this year by China’s Vital Materials Co. to buy PPM Pure Metals.

Contact reporter Yang Ge (geyang@caixin.com)

Related: China’s Tztek to Acquire German Firm to Enter Semiconductor Testing Market


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