German Government Nationalizes Uniper in Move to Secure Energy Supply – The New York Times

by | Sep 21, 2022 | Energy

BERLIN — The German government on Wednesday announced that it was taking over Uniper, previously the country’s largest importer of Russian gas, to ensure the supply of energy to homes and businesses.The German state will spend 8 billion euros ($7.9 billion) to acquire shares in Uniper it does not already own, giving it a 99 percent stake. It is buying shares from Fortum, a Finnish energy company, which will sell its large stake in Uniper to the German government for €1.70 per share, a fraction of what Uniper’s stock was worth before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, when it traded at around €40 per share.In July, the German government took a 30 percent stake in Uniper and agreed to a €15 billion rescue package. The company is responsible for supplying about 40 percent of all gas used in Germany, including to hundreds of municipalities that provide heating to homes across the country. The Finnish government has a stake in Fortum, and Helsinki had balked at providing further assistance to the German company.“This step became necessary because the situation has clearly changed” in recent weeks, Robert Habeck, Germany’s economy minister, told reporters. Conditions have worsened, he said, particularly since Russia halted all gas deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in early September.Uniper lost €12 billion in the first half of the year, a result of having to pay inflated prices to make up for the Russian shortfall while upholding its contractual agreements with customers.“Today’s agreement provides clarity on the ownership structure, allows us to continue our business and to fulfill our role as a system-critical energy supplier,” Klaus-Dieter Maubach, Uniper’s …

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