Germany’s €34.5 billion plan to nationalize Uniper has been approved by the EU Commission
The European Commission has approved Germany’s €34.5 billion plan to nationalize the German energy group Uniper, which suffered losses and bankruptcy due to disruptions in Russian gas deliveries. Uniper’s recapitalization includes an immediate cash capital increase of €8 billion, which will be subscribed at €1.70 per share, and an authorized capital of up to €26.5 billion, which Germany intends to pay in stages through 2024.
Germany has committed to developing an exit strategy by the end of 2023 to reduce its Uniper shareholding to no more than 25% plus one share by the end of 2028. Uniper is prohibited from purchasing stakes in other companies until the end of 2026 unless essential to ensure its viability. Uniper will divest parts of its business to maintain competition, including the 1 GW Datteln IV coal-fired plant in Germany and the 428 MW Gonyu gas-fired plant in Hungary. Uniper must also divest its 84% stake in Russia’s Unipro, its German district heating business, its North American power business, in the OPAL and BBL pipelines, and 18% in Latvijas Gaze. The company will also have to adjust its long-term gas contract portfolio and allow competitors access to its transportation and storage capacity.
Simultaneously, the European Commission approved a €6.3 billion recapitalization of Securing Energy for Europe (SEFE), formerly known as Gazprom Germania, a subsidiary of Russia’s Gazprom in Germany, in which Berlin will take a 100% stake in November 2022.
Germany announced the nationalization of Uniper, which is majority owned by Finland’s Fortum, in September 2022, following several rescue packages granted to the company following net losses of €40 billion in the first nine months of 2022. Uniper owned and operated 31.6 GW of power plants at the end of 2021 (a decrease of GW from the end of 2020), with 48% being gas, 20% being hard coal, 12% being hydro, 9% being other energy sources, 6% being lignite, and 5% being nuclear. The majority of the power plants are in Germany (9.4 GW), where the company ranks fourth in terms of installed capacity, Russia (9 GW), the United Kingdom (6.4 GW), and Sweden (4.7 GW). Uniper is also Germany’s largest gas storage company, with a storage capacity of 6.5 billion cubic meters.