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Germany nationalizes energy giant Uniper

by host

The German state will become the majority shareholder of ailing energy giant Uniper, its previous majority owner, Finland’s Fortum, announced Wednesday.

The deal between Fortum, the German government and Uniper will allow Berlin to “take full control of Uniper to secure energy supply in Germany,” the statement reads. Germany will own 98.5 percent of the company according to the plan, which is still pending approval of the European Commission.

The German government also agreed to a further €8 billion capital increase, with the state-owned KfW Bank to “bridge financing as required to Uniper.”

Uniper, the country’s largest natural gas supplier, has been hit with a liquidity crunch and financial losses after Russia’s Gazprom stopped delivering agreed gas supplies contracted on a long-term basis, forcing Uniper to buy replacement gas on spot markets at rates up to six times higher than last year.

The new agreement will replace a July deal in which Berlin was expected to take over 30 percent of shares.

Germany recently took over the local Rosneft subsidiary, and is reportedly in talks with two other gas importers.

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