Germany

Germans losing thirst for beer

Germans losing thirst for beer Wiesbaden, Germany - German breweries sold less beer than ever in the first quarter of 2009 as the recession and a smoking ban in bars took its toll, according to figures released Thursday.

The Federal Statistics Office said sales of the amber liquid were down 6.8 per cent from a year ago to 20.7 million hectolitres, the lowest amount since records were first kept in 1993.

Some 86.3 per cent of the beer produced in Germany is for domestic consumption. Exports to Germany's neighbours in the European Union slumped 12.5 per cent to 2.2 million hectolitres.

Deutsche Telekom to vote restructuring through this year

 Deutsche Telekom to vote restructuring through this year Cologne, Germany - European telephones giant Deutsche Telekom is to summon shareholders this year to vote through a major reorganization that will fold its T-Mobile wireless business back into the main company, Telekom said Thursday in Cologne.

At a shareholder meeting in Cologne, chief executive Rene Obermann said executive responsibilities would be re-allocated, but the move did not mean any job losses in the company's German home market. Obermann said he was concentrating on "modernizing" the company.

ECB under rate pressure as inflation remains low, jobless rises

 ECB under rate pressure as inflation remains low, jobless rises Berlin - The European Central Bank (ECB) is likely to face growing pressure for further rate cuts after data released Thursday showed unemployment in the
16-member eurozone rising and inflation remaining at low levels.

While the European Union's statistics office said in a preliminary report that inflation in the eurozone came in at 0.6 per cent in April, it also released data showing unemployment ticking up to 8.9 per cent in March as the global recession hits the currency bloc's

labour market.

Chemical giant BASF reports 1st quarter slump in earnings

Chemical giant BASF reports 1st quarter slump in earningsMannheim, Germany - Shares in German chemical giant BASF surged Thursday - despite the company reporting a steep drop in 2009 first quarter sales and profits, as the economic slowdown began to bite.

At 12.2 billion euros (16.1 billion dollars), sales were 23 per cent lower than in the first quarter of 2008, primarily due to persistently weak demand, the company said in a statement.

Magath says no comment on Schalke "rumours"

Magath says no comment on Schalke "rumours"Hamburg - Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath is refusing to comment on reports he is set to take over at fellow Bundesliga club Schalke from next season, Kicker sports magazine reported Thursday.

He was quoted by Kicker as telling the magazine Wednesday evening the reports appeared to be an attempt to damage him and Wolfsburg.

"I ask myself who has an interest in publicising this now... I don't at all see why I should comment on such rumours," he said.

German scrappage subsidy helps Japanese car sales

German scrappage subsidy helps Japanese car salesFrankfurt - A German government car scrappage scheme has pushed sales of Japanese-branded cars in Germany up by a third, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers' Association (JAMA) branch in Frankfurt said Thursday.

To encourage new-car sales, the German government is paying owners of old cars 2,500 euros in subsidy to send them to the wrecker.

First-quarter new registrations of Japanese brands in Germany were just under 120,000 vehicles, 31 per cent more than in the comparable quarter of last year, Andreas Meckel, the JAMA chief in Frankfurt, told reporters.

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