Yep, as predicted in my last monthly report, “(economic) autumn” (cf. here) has finally arrived in Germany. Amid political tensions after Chancellor Merkel announced here demise as leader of Germany’s conservative party, there is mounting evidence that the German economy has peaked somewhere in the previous months. But let’s have a closer look at the details:
Well, the German economy is currently doing well, when you look at the figures for exports, unemployment or industrial orders. However, from the perspective of inflation or industrial production it does not look to great. The outlook for the foreseeable future, however, seems to be rather measly, if you agree with our government. Hence, after a not-so-clear August (here), the September might prove to be the start of an economic autumn, as the following figures show:
Recently, the German automotive supplier SAM filed for insolvency (here). In addition to the usual suspects, a “classic” reason for a corporate crisis showed up: a fire in the production (here). Without production there is no turnover and without turnover there is no profit. A company hit by a fire can thus run through the crisis curve at a rapid pace. However, what can an entrepreneur do in such cases of WTSHT?
Today, the popular wisdom “they (only) go after the little guy” seems to apply to a limited extent only, at least in insolvency: Arcandor’s insolvency administrator, for example, holds the ex-management liable (here), as does Neckermann’s (here) and Air Berlin’s (here). However, even if “they” now go after the “big ones”, the perceived “little guys” do not get off scot-free, as the subsequently explained tightening in German jurisprudence on liability risks for managing directors in insolvency makes clear:
According to yet unconfirmed press releases, the EU Commission has no objection to the new legislation of the so-called “Sanierungserlass“, now contained in § 3a German Income Tax Code (“Einkommenssteuergesetz” “EStG“), which was declared unconstitutional by the German Federal Tax Court (“Bundesfinanzhof“, “BFH“) last year (see here). Since the ECJ recently also surprisingly declared the so-called “Sanierungsklausel” of § 8c 1a KStG as being legitimate (see here), taxation in business turnarounds will most likely be more relaxed – just in time for the beginning of the next economic crisis (see here).
In the legal realm, this summer’s silly season is filled with a heavily discussed decision of the German Constitutional Court (“Bundesverfassungsgericht“, “BVerfG“) regarding the protection of internal corporate documents from seizure by the public prosecutor. In the case underlying the decisions, the Munich public prosecutor had seized various documents relating to Audi’s involvement in the “Diesel-scandal” held in the German offices of the US-based law firm Jones Day.
Bombshell from Brussels: The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently upheld the so-called “restructuring clause” (“Sanierungsklausel“) of § 8c para 1a German Corporate Tax Code (“Körperschaftssteuergesetz“, “KStG“) and overruled the previous judgement of the European Court of First Instance from 2016 and the respective decision of the European Commission which both had declared the Sanierungsklausel as nil and void. As a consequence, shares of a company may now be transferred to potential investors as part of a corporate turnaround using the accumulated loss carry-forward of the company.