Talks are under way over Germany buying a major stake in Uniper, amid “increased uncertainties”, the company has said.
Uniper and its backer Fortum struck a deal with the German government in July. This aimed to stabilise the company’s operations, which have been hard hit by interruptions in Russian gas deliveries.
Given the increasing uncertainty over the operating environment, Uniper said, they are looking at alternative options. The only one it specified was the German government taking a “significant majority participation”.
Bloomberg has reported Germany is open to nationalising the entire company.
Russia has stopped delivering gas via the Nord Stream pipeline in early September. Gazprom has variously blamed maintenance problems and retaliation for sanctions on Russia for the stoppage.
Given the challenges around supply, Uniper’s financial losses have “significantly increased”, as a result of higher gas prices.
Uniper said the “deteriorating operating environment” and its “financial situation” must be considered among the discussions on the long-term plans.
The initial financing plan saw Germany commit to support of around 15 billion euros ($14.99bn) in July. By August, Uniper said it had drawn down its full 9bn euro ($8.99bn) credit facility, while asking KfW for another 4bn euros ($4bn).
At the end of August, before the Nord Stream shutoff, Uniper said the shortfall in deliveries had reached 80%. The company had been forced to buy spot gas at a price six times higher than 12 months ago.
As a result, cash losses were “well over” 100 million euros ($99.8mn) per day. The company also must provide security deposits for its purchases, which puts further pressure on its cash flow.
As of mid August, net debt had risen from 324mn euros to 2.06bn euros.