Uniper was nationalized after facing €40 billion in losses due to the halt in Russian gas supplies
The German government is preparing to sell part of its 99% stake in the country’s main gas importer Uniper, which was bailed out during the energy crisis of 2022, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Uniper, which is reported to have suffered one of the biggest losses in German corporate history of a staggering €40 billion ($43 billion), was brought to the brink of bankruptcy in 2022 due to surging energy prices and the halt in gas flows from Russia, its major supplier. The company was subsequently nationalized in December 2022.
According to the outlet, the German government may offer the stake late this year or in 2025. The deal could happen via a stake sale or a so-called re-IPO, but the government would likely remain a majority shareholder, sources said.
The sale of Uniper’s shares would provide Germany with a much needed influx of money after the country was plunged into a budget crisis triggered by the top court’s decision to block the use of funds left over after the pandemic.
Citing a Uniper representative, the outlet noted that, in approving the bailout that included up to €34.5 billion in state aid to prevent the company from collapsing, the European Commission obliged Germany to reduce its stake to 25% or less by the end of 2028.
Bloomberg noted that Germany’s Finance Ministry declined to comment, as did a Uniper spokesperson, who said merely that the company was “in constant dialogue with the German government as our owner.”
Sources said that Berlin’s stake is currently worth around €23.7 billion but that the shares would probably be priced at a discount to the current price.
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