The German government agreed to nationalise the country’s largest gas importer Uniper in an effort to ensure energy security against the backdrop of Russia’s gas supply freeze and rocketing gas prices.
The government has agreed with Uniper and its previous majority owner, Finland’s Fortum, on the far-reaching deal. Following the completion of a capital increase and the acquisition of Uniper shares from Fortum, the German government will own approximately 98.5 per cent of Uniper, Xinhua news agency reported, citing Fortum.
The German government is taking over “a total of 99 per cent of Uniper” as part of a further stabilisation package, the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) said on Wednesday. As a result, the government is creating “a clear ownership structure in order to secure Uniper as well as the energy supply for companies, municipal utilities and consumers”.
The stabilization measures are still subject to approval by the European Commission. In addition, an extraordinary general meeting of Uniper is scheduled to adopt the deal before the end of 2022.
Uniper has a 50 per cent share of Russian gas in its portfolio and is responsible for about 40 per cent of gas supply in Germany, especially to over 100 municipal utilities and large companies, and therefore plays a central role in supplying Germany with natural gas.
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said that the takeover of Uniper was necessitated by Russia’s decision to completely suspend gas deliveries via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on September 1. Since then, Uniper has had to procure gas on the expensive spot market.
According to Fortum, Uniper has so far incurred losses of around 8.5 billion euros ($8.4 billion).
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