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China buying strongly into Munich Re

China is buying into the indefatigable German reinsurance giant Munich Re, raising its stake to 3 percent and prompting speculation about its future aims.

China buying strongly into Munich Re
Photo: DPA

Munich Re, the world’s biggest reinsurer, is a darling of the investment community because of its strong performance even in the face of big payouts because of the Japan and New Zealand earthquakes.

Now SAFE, an investment subsidiary of the People’s Bank of China has lifted the bank’s stake to 3.04 percent, taking it above the 3 percent threshold at which it is forced to declare its share of the company voting rights, according to news wire Reuters.

It remains unclear, however, whether the Chinese have bigger strategic aims with the share purchases or is simply pursuing financial interests.

Despite the massive natural disasters, the company was already back in the black in the second quarter of this year.

With the buy-up of Munich Re, China is following the example of US investment guru Warren Buffett, who has been massively buying up shared this year. The 80-year-old is now the largest shareholder of Munich Re with 10 percent.

The Local/djw

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MUNICH

Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.

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