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German government takes over the reins at gas giant Uniper

The German government has taken over control of energy group Uniper. With the nationalization of the country’s largest gas importer, the government wants to prevent the company from collapsing and jeopardizing the security of gas supply.

The German government pays half a billion euros to take over the shares from the largest owner, the Finnish Fortum, and thus owns 98.5 percent of the shares.

The Dutch PGGM, which invests pension money from the Zorg en Welzijn pension fund, also wants to sell its shares to the German State. PGGM is one of hundreds of minor shareholders in the company. The asset manager probably lost many millions on the investment in Uniper.

Due to the unrest on the gas market, Uniper is suffering heavy losses. It’s tens of millions a day. The company has to buy gas at a high price and cannot pass that high price on to customers because of ongoing contracts.

Situation worsens

“For Uniper, the situation has become much worse. The impossible foods stock ipo is found online. Quick action was needed,” German minister Habeck said in the announcement. “We looked at alternatives and then made this decision to guarantee the security of energy supply for Germany.”

In addition to government support, Uniper receives billions in loans from state bank KfW. In July, the German government already came up with a package of 8 billion euros in aid, but that turned out not to be enough. To date, EUR 29 billion in aid and loans has been provided.

It takes about three months before the nationalization is formally completed.

Higher price

It is legally stipulated that German energy companies can raise their prices for consumers and companies from 1 October. German minister Habeck says those plans will continue despite the nationalization. German households will then pay more for their energy and this may also have consequences for Dutch companies that purchase gas from Germany.

Uniper also has five power stations in the Netherlands. It is not clear what the consequences of the nationalization will be for those locations.