The German FDI authority, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (“BMWK”), has published the German FDI screening statistics for 2023.[1]

In 2023, the BMWK reviewed a total of 537 transactions of which 257 were national FDI reviews and 280 related to transactions notified by other EU Member States to the BMWK under the EU FDI Screening Regulation and in relation to which no national FDI filings were submitted. Therefore, the number of national FDI reviews dropped from 306 filings in 2022 to 257 filings in 2023, which represents a decrease of 16%. At the same time, transactions notified under the EU FDI Screening Regulation increased from 264 in 2022 to 280 in 2023.

While the drop in national filings could be due to overall declined M&A activity in 2023, the increase of FDI reviews in other EU Member States notified to the BMWK could be explained by an increase of FDI regimes across the EU (for example, The Netherlands and Belgium adopted FDI regimes in the course of 2023). However, the breakdown of types of national FDI reviews has not changed compared to 2021 and 2022. As in 2021 and 2022 the majority of national FDI reviews, approximately 86%, were cross-sector proceedings in 2023. In consequence, as in 2021 and 2022, sector-specific reviews accounted for approximately only 14% of all national reviews. This is not unusual, given that the sector-specific review only applies to a very limited scope of industry sectors, mainly defense and cryptography, whereas the cross-sector review applies to any other sector.

The origin of investors has not changed significantly either. While screened investments from China have decreased slightly from 37 in each of 2021 and 2022 to 21 in 2023, Chinese buyers were still in the group of the top three non-EU investors screened in 2023, amongst investors from the UK (36) and the US (96). The top three sectors subject to FDI scrutiny in 2023 were information technology (71 transactions), healthcare and biotech (34 transactions) and energy (23 transactions).

The number of longer in-depth reviews (so-called Phase II reviews) stayed relatively low in 2023 and accounted for only 20 national FDI reviews (below 10% of all national reviews) and is therefore similar to 2022. As in recent years, in 2023 the majority of cases (72.5%) were reviewed within approximately 60 days at the latest, and therefore generally without an in-depth review. Only 10 national FDI reviews (4% of all national reviews) were subject to remedies, restrictions or prohibitions in 2023. While the absolute number of cases subject to remedies, restrictions or prohibitions has slightly decreased compared to 2021 (14) and 2022 (12), the percentage of 4% has basically remained unchanged in the last three years.

While absolute numbers of national FDI reviews in Germany have dropped, 2023 generally continued the trend of prior years: German is a amongst the more active FDI regime in Europe, with a relatively high number of filings, the majority of which, however, are cleared rather quickly and without remedies or restrictions. It remains to be seen how the envisaged introduction of a revised standalone investment screening law in Germany (see our analysis here), and the envisaged revisions of the EU FDI Screening Regulation will change such trends in the future.