Germany nationalises gas giant Uniper to avert energy sector crisis
The German government has reached a deal to take over a 99-percent stake in the country’s biggest gas importer, Uniper, which has been facing a financial crisis in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Germany nationalises Uniper in billion-euro deal
On Wednesday, it was announced that the federal government would become the majority shareholder in the troubled energy giant, taking over more shares to command a 98,5-percent majority stake, essentially nationalising the company. Up until now, Uniper has been controlled by the Finnish state-owned energy company Fortum.
The deal comes after a previous billion-euro rescue package saw Berlin take a 30 percent stake in the energy company back in July, and will see the German government inject 8 billion euros into Uniper and buy Fortum’s shares for 500 million euros.
The takeover was necessitated by the Russian shutdown of gas supplies via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on September 1. According to German Economics Minister Robert Habeck, 50 percent of the gas in Uniper’s portfolio normally comes from Russia. The company has therefore been forced to turn to the expensive open market - where prices have risen astronomically - to make up for missed deliveries. Uniper is currently running at an 8,5-billion-euro loss.
German state vows to support struggling energy companies
“Uniper is a central pillar of German energy supplies,” Germany’s Economics Ministry said in a statement. Habeck told ZDF that the state would support other energy companies if the need arose. “As we are showing, the state will do everything necessary to keep companies stable on the market,” he said. “That applies to Uniper. That applies to other key companies in Germany.”
Last week, the German government also took control of three Russian-owned oil refineries in Germany, shortly before the announcement came that the country’s gas storage facilities were more than 90 percent full in preparation for winter.