Gerhard Schroder, Hero Of Germany Inc.?

His tax proposals could redraw the corporate map

The restructuring wave that had been building in Germany could turn into a tidal wave by this time next year. That's when a proposal by Chancellor Gerhard Schroder--if approved by parliament--would eliminate Germany's 50% capital-gains tax, making it possible for banks, insurance companies, and conglomerates that hold vast chunks of the nation's largest companies to sell out. When news of the proposal trickled out, German financial stocks surged 10% before Christmas, pushing the DAX Index to an all-time high. "It's going to be a big bang," says Goldman, Sachs & Co. economist Thomas Mayer in Frankfurt.

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