New rail company InfraGo can start work at the beginning of the year

BERLIN - The new infrastructure company at Deutsche Bahn, known as InfraGo, has now been entered in the commercial register. The entry was made on Wednesday, as announced by Deutsche Bahn. This means that the company can start work as planned on January 1. "With the new infrastructure company, we are creating the conditions for achieving our joint transport policy goals," said Berthold Huber, Member of the Executive Board for Infrastructure. "We want to double the number of passengers in passenger transport and increase our market share in freight transport from 17 to 25 percent."

Dispute over coronavirus vaccine patent: court postpones decision

DÜSSELDORF - As expected, the Düsseldorf Regional Court has postponed its ruling in the damages dispute between vaccine developer Curevac and its competitor Biontech over a coronavirus vaccine patent. The legal dispute will be suspended until the Federal Court of Justice has ruled on the legal validity of the disputed patent, the court announced on Wednesday. The regional court's ruling was originally scheduled for Thursday.

ROUNDUP 2: Traffic light government breaks arms export record

BERLIN - The German government has approved arms exports worth at least 11.71 billion euros this year, setting a new record. The previous high of 9.35 billion euros from 2021 was already exceeded by 25 percent in mid-December. Compared to the previous year, the increase was even 40%. At 4.15 billion euros, more than a third of the approved exports went to Ukraine for the defense against the Russian invaders. This is according to an answer from the Ministry of Economics to a question from Bundestag member Sevim Dagdelen from the Sahra Wagenknecht alliance, which is available to the German Press Agency.

Deutsche Borse buys back its own shares from January 2

FRANKFURT/ESCHBORN - Deutsche Borse shareholders are to benefit from the company's first share buyback program in six years in 2024. From January 2, the DAX-listed company intends to buy back its own shares for up to 300 million euros. Up to 14 million shares are to be acquired in a period up to May 3, 2024 at the latest, as Deutsche Borse announced on Wednesday. The Frankfurt-based market operator announced the program at the beginning of November in connection with the presentation of its new "Horizon 2026" strategy.

Astrazeneca buys Chinese cell therapy specialist

LONDON - Astrazeneca wants to strengthen its position in the increasingly important field of cell therapies with an acquisition. The pharmaceutical group is buying the Chinese company Gracell Biotechnologies, which specializes in the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases, according to a press release issued on Wednesday. The initial cash payment corresponds to a transaction value of one billion US dollars (0.9 billion euros), which is equivalent to a premium of 62 percent on Gracell's closing price on December 22.

Grid agency expects electricity prices to remain high

DÜSSELDORF - The President of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, expects electricity prices for consumers to remain high. "Wholesale prices for electricity have fallen significantly compared to 2022. Nevertheless, the price level is higher than before the Russian war of aggression. This will not change any time soon," Müller told the Rheinische Post newspaper (Wednesday). "The era of cheap energy is over, at least as long as we continue to consume large quantities of conventionally produced energy."

Industry association: sales of tobacco products to decline again in 2023

BERLIN - According to the industry, sales of tobacco products in Germany will continue to decline in 2023. Following the significant decline last year, cigarette sales will also fall in 2023, said Jan Mücke, Managing Director of the Federal Association of the Tobacco Industry and Novel Products (BVTE), in Berlin on Wednesday. The volume of fine cut for rolling or plugging will also be below the previous year's figure.

Fireworks industry expects sales to be as good as in 2022

BREMERHAVEN/RATINGEN - The Association of the Pyrotechnic Industry expects demand for New Year's Eve fireworks to be as high as last year. In 2022, the industry achieved record sales of 180 million euros. "Demand was huge, the pent-up demand was obviously high," said Managing Director Klaus Gotzen. Fireworks were banned on New Year's Eve 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus. Gotzen emphasized that the industry is optimistic that demand will be high again this year.

ROUNDUP: End of tax relief: Many landlords want to raise prices

BERLIN - Will a schnitzel with fries at a highway rest stop cost 16.67 euros instead of 14.99 euros in the future? At least that's the mathematical result if the VAT rate on food in restaurants rises from 7 percent back to the usual 19 percent at the turn of the year - and restaurateurs were to charge their customers the full amount. Many restaurateurs and restaurant chains are still holding back on announcements. However, the industry association, which vehemently advocated a renewed extension of the tax concessions introduced for a limited period during the coronavirus crisis, leaves no doubt: prices for restaurant meals will rise.

EnBW boss: Expansion of renewables will continue to gain momentum

KARLSRUHE - With regard to bureaucratic hurdles in the Energiewende, the head of the energy company EnBW sees clear progress. However, there is still a need for action, Andreas Schell explained to the German Press Agency. For example, the restriction on eligible areas for solar projects should be abolished. He is also concerned that there are currently no political decisions at federal level.


Further news

-Top manager Vienna's new top insurance supervisor at Bafin

-Consumers want to go to restaurants less often after tax increase

-Consumer centers: 'Cyber security is an everyday issue'

-Telecommunications partially restored in the Gaza Strip

-Ampel government breaks arms export record - increase of 40 percent

-Deposit obligation will also apply to milk bottles in future

-Car importers: Hesse above national average for new e-car registrations°

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ROUNDUP: You can read a summary in the company overview. There are several reports on this topic on the dpa-AFX news service.