© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Uniper logo is pictured at the company’s headquarters in Duesseldorf, Germany, September 21, 2022. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
BRUSSELS/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The European Commission has approved the German government’s acquisition of Uniper SE (OTC:), paving the way for the nationalization of a near-collapsed gas trading company after Russia stopped supplying it gas.
The acquisition was approved under EU merger regulations after the Commission concluded it would not raise competition concerns. The committee still needs to approve Uniper’s bailout under state aid rules.
“The transaction was driven by the ongoing European energy crisis, in particular the shutdown of Russian gas supplies and the sharp increase in gas prices, which resulted in Uniper, the largest Russian gas importer in the country. Germany, substantial capital injection is needed to prevent insolvency.” Committee said.
Gazprom (MCX: MCX) used to be Uniper’s largest gas supplier, but deliveries fell in the summer and halted altogether at the end of August, forcing Uniper to buy gas elsewhere at higher prices. much to satisfy existing contracts.
The EU approval of the acquisition comes just days before an extraordinary shareholder meeting scheduled for December 19, at which Uniper investors will approve the bailout, which has so far been announced. cost more than 51 billion euros ($54 billion).
“This is an important step in the proceedings,” said a spokesman for Germany’s Economy Ministry, a key body in nationalization negotiations.
Uniper declined to comment.
($1 = 0.9405 euros)