Morning Briefing Global Edition E.ON’s Managed Expectations

Handelsblatt sits down with E.ON chief Johannes Teyssen to talk about radical restructuring, and the latest poll on Brexit shows the vote in a dead heat.
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Next week E.ON shareholders will approve the boldest strategy corporate Germany has on offer. The country’s largest power provider will spin off coal and gas power, while a shrunken E.ON will turn to renewables.

In an interview with Handelsblatt, CEO Johannes Teyssen praises the division, but dampens hopes of a quick payoff: “We originally wanted to turn directly to growth after the split. However, we will have to reset while we gather new strength.” Teyssen’s words manage his company’s expectations and our own.

 

The federal government is getting involved in the sale of Kuka, a German robot maker for the auto and other industries. According to information obtained by Handelsblatt, the government is looking for a white knight investor to block Kuka’s sale to Midea, a Chinese appliance maker.

Apparently our open-door welcome policy applies only to refugees, not investors from party-ruled governments. Fearing China’s state-bankrolled economy, the chancellery has reached for the reigns.

 

T-minus three weeks and counting to a Brexit vote with no clear outcome in sight. A YouGov poll released yesterday puts the referendum in a dead heat, with 40 percent for, 40 percent against and 20 percent undecided. While most of Britain’s neighbors want the U.K. to stay in, many think an exit would have a domino effect, starting the unraveling of the European Union.

In Germany, we think taking down barriers, not putting up new ones, is the better option.

 

At 57 kilometers, the longest railway tunnel in the world opens today under the Swiss Alps. Construction of the Gotthard Base, which will cut travel times through the heart of Europe by an hour or more, took 17 years to build. Chancellor Angela Merkel will attend the ceremony.

Too bad Klaus Wowereit, Berlin’s ex-mayor, won’t be there. The former chief of Berlin’s still-unfinished airport could have used a lesson in delivering the goods.

 

Embarrassing, but true: On the eve of Berlin’s ILA International Airshow, questions for Airbus chief Tom Enders are less about how many aircraft he can sell, but how many Airbus can deliver. Ongoing production problems are undermining the success of the European aviation group and its top executive.

What Airbus needs now is less politics, more leadership. Ground control to Major Tom: Please land!

 

Rupert Neudeck, the founder of humanitarian aid organization Cap Anamur, died yesterday at age 77. A refugee who fled then-Prussia, Neudeck was a selfless defender of the poor and the homeless. He shied from the limelight, exuding a quiet confidence in daily contact with misery and poverty.

He embodied the words of his favorite writer, Albert Camus: “The highest form of hope is overcoming despair.”