Compared to other Western European countries, Germany was less successful in attracting FDI in the 1990s. The falling behind in inward-FDI should be no problem if foreign-owned firms (FoFs) were only substitutes for indigenous firms. However, to the extent they differ significantly in terms of performance and structure, FoFs could be an interesting target group of economic policy. We empirically test three hypotheses: FoFs enjoy a productivity advantage over purely nationally operating firms but not – or less so - over multinationals headquartered in Germany (H1). The demand for qualified labour is higher in FoFs compared to German firms (H2). FoFs show a more flexible conduct on the labour market than German-owned firms; they are less integrated in the traditional national labour market system (H3). Our analysis is based on the establishment panel of the Nuremberg Institute for Employment Research (IAB). The data largely support H1 and H2, whereas there is hardly evidence of a particular flexibility in the FoFs' conduct on the labour market.