Germany nationalizes energy giant
The German government has completed the bailout of gas importer Uniper, the country’s Economy Ministry and Finance Ministry said in a joint statement on Thursday. The government now controls 99% of the company’s shares.
Uniper's shareholders greenlighted the company's rescue deal with the state on Monday. A day later, approval for the move was granted by the European Commission, which was necessary as the bailout is being conducted by an EU member state.
“The federal government has acquired a stake in the energy supplier Uniper. The state participation serves to secure Germany's energy supply,” the statement from the two ministries read.
Berlin initially proposed nationalizing Uniper in September, when it became apparent the company was on the brink of insolvency due to skyrocketing energy prices and halted gas flows from its main supplier, Russia. The plan includes an immediate capital injection of €8 billion ($8.4 billion) and further injections of up to €26.5 billion, which Germany will pay in several tranches until 2024.
Under the agreement between the state and Uniper’s management, which is to remain in place after the nationalization, the government has to gradually reduce its stake to 25% plus one share by 2028.
Uniper is Germany's largest gas provider, supplying energy to nearly half of the country's municipalities. It is also Europe's fourth largest gas storage company. Rescuing the company has already cost Berlin more than €50 billion.
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