July 25, 2022: -On Friday, Germany decided to bail out Uniper with a 15 billion euro rescue deal, as the embattled energy company becomes the first significant casualty of Russia’s natural gas squeeze.
The package will experience the German state taking a 30% equity stake in Uniper. The shares of the Company initially increased when the deal was said before decreasing sharply. They were trading over 21% lower an hour later.
Uniper was the initial energy company in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, to sound the alarm more than soaring energy bills and submitted a bailout application for government support earlier this month. As Germany’s biggest gas importer, it has been hit hard by vastly reduced flows via pipelines from Russia, which have made prices soar.
In a statement, Finnish majority-owner Fortum said that Uniper and the German government had decided on a “comprehensive stabilization package” to give it financial rest.
“We are living through an unprecedented energy crisis that needs robust measures. After constructive negotiations, we are finding a solution that acceptably meets the interest of all parties involved,” Fortum’s president and CEO, Markus Rauramo, said.
“We are driven by urgency and the need to protect the security of supply in a time of war in Europe.”
After the bailout, Fortum will own a 56% stake in Uniper, down from almost 80% before the deal.
The German government is all set to provide the support if Uniper’s losses, that is over 9 billion euros, Fortum said.
Russian gas supplies to Europe have decreased since its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine earlier this year and the subsequent sanctions placed on Moscow by the West.
Uniper has gained only “a fraction of its contracted gas volumes” from the Russian gas giant known as Gazprom from mid-June, according to Fortum, which meant it has had to buy gas at much-higher spot market prices. This has had consequences for Uniper’s financial position, Fortum further said.
The front-month gas price at the Dutch TTF hub, a European benchmark for natural gas trading, was approximately 5% higher Friday at 164 euros per megawatt-hour. Prices have been up more than 650% over the last year.
In the previous week, Uniper said it had already drawn down gas from storage facilities, reducing supplies needed for winter. The company said to CNBC that lowering gas volumes from its storage facilities was necessary “to supply our clients with gas and to secure the Uniper’s liquidity.”