With the following caveat: No one word answer will satisfactorily answer this question. It is further almost quite unlikely to get an accurate picture from German sources about this. The whole topic became shrouded in mythology for most Germans and that bandwagon biases most economic analysis with political analysis and entrenched opinion:
The German media presentation of the so-called Greek financial crisis caused an unexpected uproar in Germany. An anti-Greek sentiment evolved and spread among German citizens and solidarity for crisis-hit Greece was mostly rejected. Public surveys revealed that many Germans even wanted Greece to exit the Eurozone immediately. This article highlights the crucial role of the media in shaping the negative public opinion. In 2010, a period which has lately been referred to as Greek bashing, the German press had discussed the Greek financial crisis heatedly and controversially. Europe’s largest daily newspaper, BILD, published numerous reports that implicitly and explicitly constituted the myth of the corrupt and lazy Greeks in comparison to the hard-working Germans. In 2012, the crisis had spread much further, and not only Greece but other countries too were suffering from high debt, economic stagnation and unemployment. The news coverage became more moderate and conciliating and presented the dramatic social consequences for the respective population. This study highlights not only the development of the German media’s tenor on the Greek crisis through time, but adds an international perspective and widens the view by comparing the media treatment of the different countries involved. Based on 122 online articles, the study methodologically focuses on the analysis of metaphorical language in the news coverage of three comparable international news magazines: SPIEGEL (Germany), The Economist (the UK) and TIME (the USA), and contrasts the representation of Greece with the depiction of larger indebted European countries like Spain and Italy. The analysis shows remarkable differences in the evaluation and presentation of the crisis, which can be linked to the degree of involvement of Germany, the UK and the USA in European policies.
Hans Bickes et al.: "The financial crisis in the German and English press: Metaphorical structures in the media coverage on Greece, Spain and Italy", Discourse & Society 2014, Vol. 25(4) 424–445.
Then we have the unfortunate monetary and financial system that is so unknowable and difficult to understand that public and private debts, transactions between states, investors and banks are apparently so intransparent that in public discourse they are lumped together arbitrarily most of the time. Good for outrageous opinionated public debate without a solid base, bad for sober analysis and sound understanding.
This is somewhat reflected in the original question: "Did Germany profit…"
What is "Germany" here? The state as such with its budget and cash flow? The German tax payer and her money? The sum of assets private investors and German owned banks have in their balances or cashed out? Depending on perspective, the answers will differ. A really complete picture will suffer from quite a lot of fractalising detail.
More than 80% of the money "gone South" (of 274bn transferred) was used for re-financing debt. First to bail out private creditors, shifting the debt-ownership to public ones, then shifting that around between them and the IMF, in the end onto the balance sheet for "the taxpayer". -> (German) private investors gained huge, German taxpayer not so much, directly. (LaGarde, IMF: "Yes. I've got my money back!")
What is "profit" here? Just the simple math of plus and minus? Are there other effects to observe and to be included? Like lower unemployment rates in Germany, lower interest rates for new German debts, import-export balance benefits…
Especially for the net effects it has to be concluded that "Germany" "profits" from the Greek tragedy, brilliantly overall.
the German public sector balance benefited significantly from the European/Greek debt crisis, because of lower interest payments on public sector debt. This is due to two effects: One, in crisis times investors disproportionately seek out safe investments (“flight to safety”), bidding down the returns on safe-haven assets. We show that German bunds strongly benefited from this effect during the Greek debt crisis. Second, while the European Central Bank (ECB) monetary policy stance was quite close to an “optimal” monetary policy stance for Germany from 1999 to 2007, during the crisis monetary policy was too accommodating from a German perspective, due to the emerging disparities across the Euro area. As a result of these two effects, our calculations suggest that the German sovereign saved more than 100 billion Euros in interest expenses between 2010 and mid-2015. That is, Germany benefited from the Greek crisis even in case that Greece defaults on all its debt (a total of 90 billions) owed to the German government via diverse channels (European Stability Mechanism [ESM], International Monetary Fund [IMF], or directly).
Geraldine Dany et al.: "Germany’s Benefit from the Greek Crisis", IWH Online, No. 7, Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, 2015.
In the above article some overlooked effects include:
- Bad news in Greece trigger flight into German bunds
- Counterfactual yields on German bunds without flight-to-safety
- The gains from the safe-haven effect
Then there are the immaterial gains in power that relate to German banks and the government. Both now gained power despite or because they were following a narrowminded and unrelenting ideology that did no good to the Greek economy, or most others in the Euro-zone.
Germany’s refusal to cooperate with the Eurogroup members on the Greek bailout in 2010 until the crisis threatened to derail the entire Eurozone is puzzling in that regard especially because Germany is the main beneficiary of the euro. It was alleged at the time that this was a dilatory tactic designed to postpone a domestically unpopular decision until after crucial regional elections. But why would voters allow themselves to be misled like that? And why did Merkel agree to the bailout before the elections took place? To analyze how citizen preferences affect international cooperation, we develop a game-theoretic model of the four-way interaction between two governments that must coordinate a response to a crisis affecting both countries but who also must face the polls domestically with an electorate that might be uncertain whether a response is necessary. We find that, paradoxically, governments that stand to receive the greatest benefits from international cooperation face the greatest obstacles to implement- ing the required policies even when voters would want them to.
Christina J. Schneider et al: "The Domestic Politics of International Cooperation: Germany and the European Debt Crisis", International Organization, Volume 72, Issue 1 Winter 2018 , pp. 1-31.
"Profit" is not only about one sum in one calculation. Only looking at those numbers amassed in one bail-out package is a distorting microscopisation of the whole picture. Those numbers in isolation might be in a certain balance. Including all the other effects leads to the conclusion that "Germany" "profited" massively from the whole situation.
Although the fixation on direct debt and bailout related money flow is an overall misleading calculation, the numbers are all in the same direction over the years and in context:
Germany Profits From Greek Debt Crisis –
New figures show that Germany has earned more than €1.3 billion from the hundreds of billions in aid given to Athens over the past decade. (Handelsblatt Global, July, 12, 2017)
Germany reaps a €2.9bn gain from Greek bond holdings, Financial Times, 22.06.2018
Germany has gained £71billion from its tough stance on Greek debt crisis... and will still make a profit if Athens never pays back a single cent, DailyMail 10 August 2015
The truth about Greek debt and German generosity, PBS, 2015
How Germany made money from Greek crisis 2017
James K. Galbraith: Aug 20, 2018: "The Greece Bailout’s Legacy of Immiseration" The Atlantic
Why Greece is Germany’s ‘de facto colony’, Politico, 2017
The initial report from the question is not an outlier.
The biggest chunk of 274bn since 2010 was only "burnt" from a Greek perspective! They could use the money, but they were largely only allowed to pay back, pay interest and re-finance exisiting debt and newly acquired debt. That means the investors got their money back and then some. Just poor little Greece lost and lost in this spiral.
Again, cui bono from the money go around?
Where did the money from the third bailout memorandum go?
86bn Euros were authorised initially, 61,9bn were actually used and went "to Greece". Of that 36,3bn were used to pay back or re-finance debt, 5,4bn went into re-capitalising banks (of 25bn authorised initially; 2bn of that already paid back) and only 8.8bn went into "other means". Only those "other means" are therefore free to go into buying German products.
We have to keep in mind that all those loans and credits are constantly shifted around
Previous agreements provided for Greece to pay out the SMP profits of other countries once all savings and reform requirements had been met. However, according to the reply, a total amount of EUR 2 billion was only transferred to Greece in 2013. In 2014, around 1.8 billion euros went into a blocked account of the Euro rescue system ESM. According to the answer, the Bundesbank had generated around 3.4 billion euros in interest gains from SMP purchases by 2017. Only in 2013 and 2014 profits were transferred to the ESM and Greece. In 2013, around 527 million euros were remitted and in 2014 around 387 million euros were remitted, resulting in an overall remaining profit of around 2.5 billion euros. In addition, there are interest gains of EUR 400 million from a loan from the state bank KfW.
An earlier publication that somewhat is in contrast to conservative blog opinions mentioned elsewhere quote the official Ministry of Finance. It says:
The total profit amounts to 1.34 billion euros, as the various statements by the Federal Ministry of Finance show
Buying up Greek debt is not throwing away money from the creditor's perspective. It is not a donation despite portrayed as such. It is not only a great lever for pushing an agenda, it is also constantly generating profit and shows up favourably under debits and credits
in the books.