German gas company Uniper requires additional 25 bln euros in state aid

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BERLIN, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Germany's largest gas importer Uniper said on Wednesday it would require up to 25 billion euros (25 billion U.S. dollars) in additional state aid as a result of the energy crisis.

A planned capital increase of 8 billion euros would "not be sufficient to stabilize Uniper," the company said. The additional capital is to be created by issuing shares, for which the German government will be the only subscriber.

"This is to be used to partially restore the equity weakened by further losses in 2022, 2023 and 2024, particularly in connection with gas replacement procurements as a result of Russian gas supply restrictions," Uniper said in a statement.

As a bridging measure, the German state-owned KfW Bank is to provide interim financing, according to Uniper. The bank was also one of the main distributors of state aid during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The capital measures agreed with the German government will end months of uncertainty for our company and our customers," said Uniper CEO Klaus-Dieter Maubach. The support will allow the company to supply gas under the terms contracted before the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The German government already stepped in September to rescue Uniper from insolvency, due to its key role in the country's energy supply. After the first planned capital increase and the acquisition of a share package from Finnish energy group Fortum, the government's stake will be around 99 percent.

Driven by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, gas prices in Europe have soared over the course of the year, peaking at almost 350 euros per megawatt hour at the end of August. Prices for European TTF (Title Transfer Facility) gas futures have since declined, and were trading at around 125 euros on Wednesday.

As a result, Uniper recorded a net loss of 40 billion euros in the first nine months of this year, the company announced earlier this month. Around 31 billion euros of future losses are anticipated in relation to the end of Russian gas supplies to Germany. (1 euro = 1.03 U.S. dollar) Enditem

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