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although employee protection in germany has led to inflated labour costs, productivity has remained high compared with the european averagePrivate equity sponsors have been very active in Germany over the past few years. In 2003, approximately 20% of all European private equity investments were made in Germany. While this is only half of what was invested in the UK, it is approximately twice the figure for France. At the end of 2003, private equity houses that are members of the German Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVK) held investments of more than € 18bn (£12bn) in 5,000 smaller and medium-sized companies in Germany (according to the BVK). In fact, the German M&A market has been dominated by private equity transactions in recent years.

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