We have already written about Uniper in a recent article where the company’s problems started to be discussed. Now the whole situation has moved on and the German government will take an approximate 30% stake in the company to prevent it from going bankrupt.
Uniper is Germany’s biggest importer of Russian gas, but a sharp rise in prices and a cut in supplies of the raw material from Russia have left it in existential difficulties and made it the biggest victim so far of the current energy market crisis in Europe.
Uniper also received financial assistance
Uniper has also received a financial injection of €15 billion, part of it in the form of bank guarantees and part of it in the form of new capital following the German government’s entry into the company’s ownership structure. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said of the financial aid.
“Uniper is an individual case, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution.”
However, he then added that companies that are important to the functioning of Germany’s energy infrastructure will also be able to benefit from financial support.
In the end, higher prices will be partly passed on to consumers
Previously, it was debated whether the rising prices would be passed on to consumers or whether the German government would find another way. In the end, the higher prices will be passed on to consumers and energy will become more expensive from September or October.
However, the German Government is preparing concessions and protections for low-income families so that high energy prices are not liquidating for households. A major reform of welfare and housing allowances will start in the new year. Among other things, the number of people eligible for housing benefits will be extended.
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Uniper’s main problem is that it is forced to buy gas at significantly higher prices from alternative sources, as the Russian gas company Gazprom has significantly reduced its gas exports to Germany. It explains this based on technical problems and force majeure.
The Finnish company Fortum will remain the majority owner of Uniper after the entry of the German government, but its share will be reduced to 56% from around 80% at present. Shares are down nearly 29% today.