The energy company Uniper, Germany’s largest gas importer, has submitted a request for stabilization measures to the government. The company’s statement is a surprise. As a result of the war in Ukraine and the turmoil surrounding Russian gas supplies, the group has been in serious trouble. Since mid-June, Uniper has only received 40% of the gas volumes guaranteed by contract from the Russian company GAZPROM and has to buy replacement volumes on the market at considerably higher prices.

Uniper therefore requests a cost sharing, an increase in the credit line by the state development bank KfW, permission to pass on price increases to customers and a possible participation of the federal government in Uniper. The Bundestag approved legal changes on Thursday to facilitate possible federal aid to energy companies in difficulty such as Uniper and the Bundesrat did so on Friday, so the company, in principle, has room for manoeuvre.

Listed Uniper SE, based in Düsseldorf, is majority owned by Finnish energy provider Fortum, whose largest shareholder is the Finnish state. Fortum already announced days ago that it was discussing a reorganization of Uniper’s business units with the German government “in order to bundle and secure critical German business activities.”

The company had reported liquidity problems at the end of June and at the beginning of the week there were already rumors about the possible scope of the state’s rescue measures. The Bloomberg news agency spoke of up to 9,000 million euros. The Handelsblatt had previously reported a stake of up to 25%, and according to insiders, a silent involvement of the federal government was also being discussed.

The federal government continues to negotiate with the energy company Uniper on support measures. There is still no bailout concept for Uniper and no decisions on concrete measures have been taken, the Deutsche Presse-Agentur learned in government circles on Friday. The federal government may invest €1 billion in Uniper through equity. However, a mix is ​​also conceivable with the possibility that Uniper passes on the high price increases in gas purchases to customers. In the modified Energy Security Law, the possibility of a rate for all gas customers has been created.

Uniper shares, hit hard for months, came under pressure again on Friday after rallying the day before. Shares of the energy provider were at times trading 10.69 euros, down 1.57 percent, via XETRA on Friday, making them among the weakest stocks in the mid-cap MDAX index. The day before, they were up a good 9% in a recovery rally.

Following the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the share price initially plummeted to €16.05 due to the company’s extensive involvement in Russia. At the end of May, the stock tried to stabilize at a level above 24 euros. From there, however, the stock lost more than half its value in a month. Since the beginning of the year, the loss now amounts to about 76%.

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