Germany to nationalize gas giant Uniper

Following the takeover of the shares of majority shareholder Fortum, the German state will own 98.5% of the group.

The German state will nationalize 98.5% the gas giant Uniper, asphyxiated by Russian gas cuts, announced Wednesday morning the majority shareholder of the company, the Finnish group Fortum. "The government will take over around 99% of Uniper“, said the German Ministry of the Economy in a press release on Wednesday. "Uniper is a central pillar of German energy supply“recalls Berlin to justify this radical intervention. The energy company supplies gas to hundreds of German municipalities.

This agreement replaces an initial aid plan unveiled last July, which provided for Berlin to take a 30% stake in this group, which is Germany's largest gas importer. In detail, Germany will buy at a price of 1.70 euros per share, all the shares of Fortum for a total of 500 million euros, according to the document. Berlin will also carry out a capital increase of 8 billion euros, the government has also indicated. Finally, the agreement provides for the reimbursement, by Germany, of an 8 billion euro loan that Fortum had granted to its subsidiary. This "Divestment from Uniper is the right step, not only for Uniper but also for Fortum“commented Fortum in a press release.

Impact of the war in Ukraine

Uniper, the leading importer and storer of gas in Germany, has been hit hard by the drastic reduction in Russian gas deliveries since the war in Ukraine. The company was the main customer of the Russian group Gazprom in Germany. It must now, to honor its contracts, obtain gas on the spot market where prices have exploded. In total, the losses generated amount to8.5 billion euros“Fortum said Wednesday.

The situation worsened when the Russian giant Gazprom temporarily closed its Nord Stream 1 pipeline, the main supplier of Russian gas to Germany, in early September. Berlin has constantly warned, in recent months, about "the Lehman Brothers effectwhat a bankruptcy of Uniper would have on the energy markets. Considering the importance of Uniper, its fall would shake the energy market and lead to energy shortages for thousands of customers.

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