The energy company Uniper, which is struggling due to a lack of Russian gas supplies, needs billions more. The planned cash capital increase of eight billion euros alone will not be enough to stabilize Uniper, the group announced on Wednesday in Düsseldorf. For this reason, authorized capital of up to a further EUR 25 billion is to be created by issuing new shares.
It should be available to partially restore the equity capital, which has been weakened by further losses in this and the coming years. Only the federal government is entitled to subscribe, the statutory subscription rights of other shareholders are excluded.
Approvals from the EU Commission are still pending
The federal government, the energy company Uniper and the former Uniper majority owner Fortum agreed in September on a stabilization package for Uniper, which provides for extensive nationalization. In addition to the capital increase, plans include the acquisition of the Uniper shares from the Finnish majority shareholder Fortum by the federal government.
The stabilization package is still subject to change. Approvals from the EU Commission are still pending. An extraordinary Uniper general meeting is to decide on the measures on December 19.
Uniper is in trouble because Russia is no longer pumping gas to Germany. The gas wholesaler is a supplier to over 100 municipal utilities and large companies and thus plays a central role in the German gas supply. The company now has to buy the missing gas expensively on the gas market. The pipeline gas from Russia was comparatively cheap. Because of the delivery stop, the prices have now multiplied. If Uniper were to go bankrupt, there are fears that there would be a domino effect, which would also cause great difficulties for numerous Uniper customers.
Consequential costs of the Russian gas cuts
According to Uniper CEO Klaus-Dieter Maubach, the capital measures are intended to "end a month-long phase of uncertainty for our company and our customers". This regulates how the enormous follow-up costs of the Russian gas cuts, which are mainly incurred by Uniper, can be borne.
"It's about no less than a significant part of Germany's gas bill, which is now being paid from tax revenue - and not, as originally planned, from a gas surcharge," said Maubach. Without this relief, Uniper customers would inevitably have faced an even higher wave of costs. "Thanks to the state support, Uniper can continue to supply its customers with gas under the conditions contractually agreed before the war."
The chairman of the Uniper Group Works Council, Harald Seegatz, expressed his satisfaction. "All Uniper employees have been working with full commitment for over a year to ensure security of supply despite the war and market turmoil," he told the dpa-AFX news agency. He is pleased that the federal government recognizes this achievement and is committed to Uniper. "Now I'm counting on the EU to quickly complete the approval process and not impose any unjustified conditions." Uniper must remain viable and have future opportunities. "That's why Uniper must be preserved as an entire group."