Germany’s largest gas importer Uniper has submitted an application for stabilization measures to the federal government after Russian deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline were cut. The company announced this on Friday in a mandatory notification to the stock exchange.
The proposal aims, among other things, for a fair distribution of costs, an increase in the credit line through the state development bank KfW and a possible participation of the federal government in Uniper. Accordingly, Uniper also proposes being able to pass on price increases to customers.
The company announced that the additional costs involved in purchasing gas are very financially burdensome.
The Finnish Uniper majority shareholder Fortum stated 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”.
Company boss Klaus-Dieter Maubach said he was “confident” that an agreement would be reached soon. At the same time, he rejected speculation about impending bankruptcy. “We are not on the verge of bankruptcy.” This is also not a scenario that the company is dealing with. On the contrary, he sees an “outstanding opportunity” to stabilize the company with state aid.
Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) explained that the government was working “at full speed on stabilization measures” and was in close contact with all stakeholders. The specific form of support will now be negotiated and then decided.
But one thing is clear: “We will not allow a systemically important company to go bankrupt and as a result cause turbulence on the global energy market.”
Uniper boss Maubach underpinned the warnings of drastically rising gas prices. “German consumers are facing a very, very big price wave.” The high prices when shopping are currently not even visible on their bills.
Uniper got into trouble as a result of the gas crisis, plays a central role in Germany’s energy supply and supplies many municipal utilities.
The Uniper boss was also personally disappointed by those responsible at the Russian state-owned company Gazprom. Business relationships have existed for over 50 years, the German side has always paid on time, the Russian partner has always delivered gas. The fact that Gazprom has now broken the contract with the reduced delivery quantities is “one of the great disappointments”.
Maubach rejected the Russian statement that the failure of a single turbine could be the reason for the reduced delivery volume. The big question now is how things will continue after the upcoming scheduled maintenance of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline – whether gas will then be further reduced, delivered in full or possibly not at all.
The Bundestag and Bundesrat had previously passed legal changes to facilitate possible federal aid for ailing energy companies such as Uniper.
“They have a real problem,” Economics Minister Robert Habeck said before, referring to suppliers like Uniper, which have imported a lot of Russian gas.
As the German Press Agency learned from government circles on Friday, there have not yet been any decisions on concrete measures at Uniper.