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    Germany considering nationalization of Uniper gas company

    September 20, 2022 - Deutsche Welle


      Uniper's situation has looked increasingly vulnerable following the closure of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Previously, Germany's largest importer of natural gas said soaring energy prices had hit the company hard.Germany is nearing a provisional agreement to nationalize energy company Uniper amid the ongoing fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, according to reports released by Bloomberg and later by other German media. A spokesperson for the company on Tuesday said parties involved in discussions were looking at a possible capital injection that would mean the German government taking a significant majority stake in the ailing gas importer. Uniper's largest shareholder currently is the Finnish state-owned energy company Fortum. News agency Reuters cited unnamed sources familiar with the negotiations as saying that Fortum's exit from Uniper's ownership structure would be a part of the rescue package. Reuters also reported that a finalized deal would likely be announced as soon as Wednesday. Consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine Uniper's situation has looked increasingly vulnerable ever since Russia's invasion of Ukraine; the German government effectively bought a 30% stake in the company in July in exchange for a capital injection. At that time, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Uniper was in "big trouble" owing to the worsening energy crisis. The company was one of those involved in building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was not activated after construction and is frozen indefinitely as part of the package of sanctions imposed in response to the invasion. But the situation for Uniper became trickier still earlier this month. Russian energy giant Gazprom said gas supplies to Western Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline had completely stopped due to equipment issues, giving no time frame on when it would resume activities. With winter fast-approaching, the ailing energy importer has been burning through cash reserves sourcing gas on the expensive spot market after Moscow slashed flows to Germany, also trying to fill up storage facilities in anticipation of winter shortfalls. Last month, Uniper said high energy prices and a threat by Russia to cut gas supplies had hit the Düsseldorf-based company hard. It also warned a tough winter lay ahead. jsi/wmr (dpa, Reuters)

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