German business daily Handelsblatt reported on Wednesday that several German companies feared they would have problems recovering their money invested in Iraq after Chancellor Schröder indicated Tuesday that Berlin was willing to substantially ease Iraq’s massive foreign debt. The newspaper estimated that Iraq owed German companies debts amounting to 1.4 billion. The paper said that a large part of the debt hardly appeared in the balance sheets of companies because several German-Iraqi ventures from the 1970s and 80s didn’t fall under the so-called Hermes export credits issued by the German government for projects and technologies considered unfit for domestic use. According to the paper a large part of the Iraqi debt was to be found in the German construction industry. Baghdad’s foreign debt during the reign of dictator Saddam Hussein is estimated to be over €100 billion, out of which Iraq owes Germany a debt of around €4.4 billion.