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German economic growth to accelerate, Ukraine clouds loom

BERLIN (Reuters) - German economic growth will accelerate this year to 1.8 percent and pick up again next year, the economy ministry said on Tuesday, although a closely watched survey showed Ukraine is weighing on the outlook for Europe's largest economy. Germany's economy, which powered ahead during the early years of the euro zone crisis, expanded just 0.4 percent in 2013, when exports struggled and some firms held back on investment.

Opel eyes return to profit in 2015: company head

Loss-making German automaker Opel, a unit of General Motors, could steer back to profit as early as next year, its chief said in an interview on Monday. "If everything goes well, theoretically that can't be ruled out," even if the official target remains 2016, Karl-Thomas Neumann told the Wall Street Journal. Opel has been running at a loss of years and has embarked on a deep restructuring, closing its plant in Antwerp, Belgium, and its factory in Bochum, Germany, to shut its doors at the end of this year.

ThyssenKrupp says in talks with Saab over shipyards deal

German heavy industry giant ThyssenKrupp said on Monday it is in talks with Saab of Sweden over the sale of its Swedish shipywards business. The operations, formerly known as Kockums, employ a workforce of about 900 people and the aim of the talks was to safeguard those jobs and retain activities in Sweden, ThyssenKrupp said. "ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions, a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp, and Saab have signed a memorandum of understanding about a sale of Swedish Shipyard ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems," the German group said in a statement.

Eurozone outlook brighter on better German forecasts

The outlook for the crisis-battered eurozone brightened Thursday as Germany's leading economic think tanks raised their growth forecast for Europe's top economy this year and next year. Greece, one of the hardest-hit euro members, also returned to the debt markets for the first time in four years, raising 3.0 billion euros ($4.1 billion) in a landmark five-year bond sale. Throughout the long crisis, the German economy has managed to escape with only a few bruises.

Eurozone outlook brighter on better German forecasts

The outlook for the crisis-battered eurozone brightened Thursday as Germany's leading economic think tanks raised their growth forecast for Europe's top economy this year and next year. Greece, one of the hardest-hit euro members, also returned to the debt markets for the first time in four years, raising 3.0 billion euros ($4.1 billion) in a landmark five-year bond sale. Throughout the long crisis, the German economy has managed to escape with only a few bruises.

Skoda revs up record sales, reports boost in China

Czech car group Skoda on Thursday announced record sales in the first quarter of the year, driven mainly by impressive results from China. Sales rose 12.1 percent in the January to March period this year compared to the same three months in 2013, the firm said, with 247,200 vehicles sold. The company, part of the Volkswagen group, also said its March sales hit new record highs, with 96,100 cars sold, a rise of 14.6 percent compared to the same month last year.

BMW weighing new North American plant: Bloomberg

(Reuters) - German carmaker BMW <BMWG.DE> is planning a second North American factory to cater to the rising demand for its vehicles, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. The Munich-based carmaker is planning to build its bestselling 3-Series at the new plant and has been short-listing locations, with at least two sites in Mexico still being considered, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. (http://link.reuters.com/zaz38v)

Volkswagen expansion talks grind to a halt in Tenn. amid mistrust over labour drive at plant

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Expansion talks at Volkswagen's lone U.S. plant have ground to a halt amid disagreements about the role of organized labour at the Tennessee factory. An acrimonious vote at the Chattanooga plant in February was a narrow defeat for the United Auto Workers union.

Lufthansa calls for reform of right to strike

The head of Lufthansa called for a reform of workers' right to strike Friday as the biggest strike in the airline's history entered its third and final day. While Lufthansa chief executive Christoph Franz insisted that the right to strike was a constitutional right, "from our point of view, there must be a guarantee that critical infrastructure is kept up and running. "And that includes railways and air traffic control," Franz told the business daily Handelsblatt in an interview.

German industry orders rise in February, point to strong first quarter

By Sarah Marsh BERLIN (Reuters) - Domestic demand drove a stronger-than-expected 0.6 percent rise in German industrial orders in February, Economy Ministry data showed on Friday, marking the fourth consecutive monthly gain and underscoring the pickup in Germany's mighty industry. The increase in seasonally-adjusted orders beat the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll of 32 economists for a rise of 0.1 percent. The gain in January orders was revised downwards to 0.1 percent from an originally reported 1.2 percent.
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