Federal government considers nationalization of gas supplier

What will become of Uniper?
Image: dpa

The federal government could increase its stake in Uniper to more than 50 percent. And it is open to fully nationalizing the gas company if necessary to prevent a collapse of Germany's energy supply system.

An view of the difficulties of the gas supplier Uniper nationalization is approaching. The federal government is considering increasing its stake to more than 50 percent, as the group announced in a mandatory stock exchange announcement. There are corresponding talks between the federal government, Uniper and the Finnish group Fortum, the previous majority owner of Uniper.

Uniper needs more government support after the Düsseldorf group had already drawn on an aid package and loans totaling 20 billion euros. "Due to the increased uncertainty in the operational environment, those involved are also examining alternative solutions, including a direct capital increase, which would lead to a significant majority stake by the federal government in Uniper," the statement said. So far, however, no decisions have been made that go beyond what was agreed in the July stabilization package.

"Financial losses have increased significantly"

A surge in natural gas prices and Russian supply restrictions have caused Uniper to lose millions of dollars a day, prompting the government to step in with a bailout in July. So far, this has involved a direct stake of 30 percent. Since then, the European energy crisis exacerbated because Russia is no longer supplying gas through Nord Stream 1 and gas and electricity prices have skyrocketed, Uniper explained. "As a result, Uniper's financial losses have increased significantly since July due to higher gas procurement costs."

CEO Klaus-Dieter Maubach had previously pointed out that losses could reach the seven billion euro mark as early as September. The federal government had announced that it would then support the company with further aid measures. Before that, Uniper already had additional credit lines KfW of 4 billion euros requested. To date, Uniper has been majority owned by the Finnish utility Fortum, whose stake would fall from almost 80 to 56 percent as a result of the planned federal entry.

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