Brüderle says Germany to sell Commerzbank stake in three years

Germany hopes to sells its multi-billion-euro stake in Commerzbank "within three years at the latest," Economy Minister Rainer Brüderle said on Monday.

Brüderle says Germany to sell Commerzbank stake in three years
Photo: DPA

Until now, Berlin had not said when it might try to recuperate the billions of euros injected last year into the country’s second-biggest bank to keep it from collapsing amid a financial sector crisis.

Commerzbank soaked up €18.2 billion ($23.7 billion) in public funds as it struggled to integrate loss-making Dresdner Bank, leaving Berlin with a stake of more than 25 percent.

“Nothing is worse than a state holding in banks. It must remain an absolute exception,” Brüderle told business daily Handelsblatt.

To pay back the public money, Commerbank might make a capital increase this year if the market is stable, unidentified banking sources cited by the daily said.

The bank is to release second-quarter results on Thursday.

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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.