Dhe ailing utility Uniper has submitted an application to the federal government for stabilization measures. The proposal is aimed at cost sharing, an increase in the credit line through the state development bank KfW and a possible federal investment in Uniper. Uniper is by far Germany’s largest gas importer and got into difficulties in the course of the gas crisis. Due to the throttling of Russian gas supplies, the company has to buy gas at more expensive prices and is reportedly making millions in losses in order to meet its delivery obligations to public utilities, among others.
Accordingly, Uniper also proposes being able to pass on price increases to customers. The measures were aimed at ending the current accumulation of significant losses and covering Uniper’s liquidity needs.
The listed Uniper SE has its headquarters in Düsseldorf and is majority owned by the Finnish energy supplier Fortum, whose largest shareholder is the Finnish state. Fortum explained that a reorganization of Uniper’s business areas was being discussed with the federal government “in order to bundle the system-critical German business activities and secure them with the federal government”. Fortum’s proposal provides for a restructuring of Uniper – with the aim of establishing a security of supply company owned by the federal government.
Gas prices will rise
Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) announced on Friday that the federal government was working flat out on stabilization measures and was in close contact with all stakeholders. The specific form of support will now be negotiated and then decided. Nevertheless, he immediately made a commitment: “Politically one thing is clear: we will not allow a systemically important company to go bankrupt and cause turbulence on the global energy market as a result,” he said. “With the new legislation in the Energy Security Act, we have various options for action and we will act.”
The Bundestag and Bundesrat had previously passed legal changes to facilitate possible federal aid for ailing energy companies such as Uniper. As soon as the law was passed by the Federal Council on Friday, Uniper announced in a mandatory notification that it would apply for state aid. As Uniper announced, the proposal submitted with the application for state stabilization measures is initially based on a “fair distribution of costs”. The group refers to the Energy Security Act. This provides, for example, for price increases to be passed on to all gas customers.
In addition, the proposal provides for additional outside capital by increasing a KfW credit line that has not yet been drawn. The credit line is two billion euros. The measures should also protect Uniper’s investment grade.
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