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Germany Nationalizes Gas Importer Uniper

Published: September 21, 2022
The logo for Uniper is shown in this screengrab. (Image: via Reuters)

BERLIN — Germany has agreed to nationalize Uniper by buying Fortum’s stake in the gas importer to secure operations and keep its business going, the three parties involved said on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

According to German Economy Minister Robert Habeck who made the official announcement on Wednesday morning, while Germany was managing the stoppage of gas supplies from Russia via Nordstream 1, Uniper was not.

“We (Germany) have managed the situation quite well but for Uniper the situation has become much more dramatic and much worse, their problems have once again worsened dramatically. Uniper has a 50 percent share of Russian gas in its portfolio and represents 40 percent of the German gas supply with this considered urgent action was needed,” Habeck said.

The agreement comprises a capital increase of 8 billion euros ($7.9 billion) for an issue price of 1.70 euros per share excluding the shareholders’ subscription rights.

Nationalising Germany’s largest importer of Russian gas is the second move in a week by the government in Berlin to take control of an energy business as it confronts a winter crisis.

After completion of the capital increase, which will exclusively be signed by the German government, and the share buy, the government will hold around 99 percent of Uniper, the economy minister said.

The package is designed to create a clear ownership structure in order to secure Uniper, and thus the energy supply for companies, municipal utilities and consumers, Habeck said.

“When the merger control and the state aid issues have been clarified with the Uniper nationalisation, Germany will of course also exert its influence on Uniper. And then the individual business areas will be looked at very closely and in detail,” he added.

Russia cutting back natural gas supplies and last month closing the Nord Stream 1 gas pipe have led Uniper, Germany’s largest gas importer, to financial dire straits, triggering a rescue package with Berlin which was agreed in July.

Fortum will be paid back a 4-billion-euro parent company loan and released from its 4-billion-euro parent guarantee which it had given to Uniper earlier this year, Fortum said.

By Reuters. (Production: Oliver Ellrodt, Tanya Wood)