Credit line

Uniper seeks to extend $2 billion state credit line

The Uniper logo is seen outside the company’s headquarters in Duesseldorf, Germany, July 8, 2022. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

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  • Uniper maximizes its €2 billion credit line
  • Proposes to pass on costs, government involvement to stabilize business
  • Ongoing talks with Germany and Finland
  • Bailout decision could come this week – source

BERLIN, July 18 (Reuters) – German utility group Uniper (UN01.DE) asked on Monday to extend its 2 billion euro ($2.03 billion) credit line with state lender KfW (KfW .UL) after withdrawing the full amount in response to Russian gas supply shortages.

Uniper said it also proposed activating a legal mechanism that would allow it to pass on increased procurement costs to customers, and for the state to take “relevant participation”.

Germany’s biggest gas importer has been the subject of urgent consultations between Germany and Finland after it asked Berlin for a bailout earlier this month to solve financial problems caused by the gas shortage and the price spike. Read more

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A spokesman for Germany’s economy ministry said on Monday the government was working with Uniper and its Finnish parent company Fortum (FORTUM.HE) to find ways to help. Fortum, dominated by the state, has a 78% stake in Uniper.

According to Uniper, it is not yet clear when the talks with the government can be concluded.

A decision on what a potential bailout might look like is expected to be made as early as this week, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Potential scenarios include the German state taking a direct minority stake in Uniper to provide new equity or ring-fencing Uniper’s German gas business and selling it to Berlin, people familiar with the negotiations said.

The beleaguered utility has been pulling gas from its own stores since last week, he said. Until Monday, more than two terawatt hours (TWh) had been taken.

“Uniper is currently paying the price for German gas supply shortages due to reduced deliveries from Russia,” chief executive Klaus-Dieter Maubach said.

“Only if the supply cuts from Russia stop or if the German government uses the instruments of the EnSiG can we also prevent a chain reaction in the gas supply chain in the future. .”

The EnSiG, or Energy Security Act, gives the government additional tools to help struggling utilities.

Germany has accused Russia of throttling the flow of gas to Europe under false pretenses in revenge for sanctions over the war in Ukraine. Russia has denied doing so and said it is a reliable energy supplier that honors its contracts.

Uniper said it could not say how long the KfW credit facility would last, adding that it would depend on market developments.

($1 = 0.9848 euros)

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Written by Rachel More and Christoph Steitz; Editing by Miranda Murray, Jan Harvey, Maria Sheahan and Susan Fenton

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