Germany nationalizes Uniper to secure gas supply

The Uniper logo is seen at the utility's firm headquarters in Duesseldorf, Germany, July 8, 2022. (Photo: IBT)

Wednesday, Germany confirmed the nationalization of ailing gas importer Uniper for 8 billion euros ($7.9 billion) as it scrambles to secure energy for Europe's largest economy following a reduction in Russian supply.

Nationalizing Germany's top importer of Russian gas is the second energy company the Berlin government has taken control of in the past week as the country faces a winter crisis.

Uniper, whose shares were 18.97% lower at 3.38 euros at 07:10 GMT, burnt through its cash purchasing alternative supplies after Moscow curtailed gas supply to Germany in July, forcing a 15 billion euro state rescue package.

However, it quickly became apparent that the bailout was insufficient to cover Uniper's escalating losses, so Germany will now inject an additional 8 billion euros, in part by purchasing Finnish utility Fortum's holdings for 1.50 euros per share.

At approximately 13.50 euros per share, Fortum's stock price increased by approximately 12 percent.

Germany will retain 99% of Uniper following the completion of a capital increase and the Fortum share purchase, excluding the Finnish company's subscription rights, according to the economy ministry.

Robert Habeck, the German economy minister, told reporters, "The state will - that's what we're showing now - do everything possible to always keep the companies stable on the market,"

On Friday, Germany took control of a Russian-owned oil refinery that supplies 90 percent of the capital's gasoline, placing a Rosneft subsidiary under the trusteeship of the industry regulator and assuming administration of the Schwedt plant.

Under the agreement with Fortum about Uniper, the Finnish utility will be repaid a 4 billion euro parent company loan and released from its 4 billion euro parent guarantee issued to Uniper earlier this year, according to Fortum.

"We are investing $8 billion in Uniper and buying out Fortum by investing in Uniper. Allow me to reiterate: Fortum loses its whole equity investment as a result "Habeck remarked.

The Finnish government, which owns 50.76 percent of Fortum, stated that it would have to accept the purchase.

Fortum announced in March 2020 that it has invested 6.5 billion euros to acquire a 69.6% share in Uniper. Later, it increased its holding to 80%, which it maintained until July's dilution.

Fortum has been a substantial dividend provider to the Finnish state budget for many years, and its German subsidiary's growing losses have put the government under intense public pressure.

Fortum lost 9.1 billion euros in the second quarter alone due to Uniper's losses in gas trading.

Publish : 2022-09-21 15:56:00

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