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Klaus-Dieter Maubach, patron de géant allemand de l

On the brink, Uniper, the biggest German customer of Gazprom, activates its last public credit line


This is his last cartridge. Still not seeing the state rescue plan coming that it called for ten days ago, the German energy company, suffocated by the stoppage of Russian gas deliveries, had to activate a line of credit of 2 billion euros granted by the German public bank KfW. His last line of credit…

“Uniper has today drawn on KfW’s existing €2 billion credit facility, and has thus exhausted all of it,” the company said in a statement. “With this measure, Uniper is reacting to the continued disruptions in Russian gas supply and subsequent developments in energy markets,” she added.

Deprived of Russian gas, the energy company loses “tens of millions” a day

In Germany, Uniper is the leading importer of Russian gas: it is also, quite obviously, the leading customer of the Russian producer Gazprom. Hit hard by the reduction in Russian deliveries since mid-June, the German energy company has an urgent need for cash.

Indeed, to serve its customers and honor its contracts, the leading importer and storer of gas in Germany is obliged to obtain gas on the spot market where prices have exploded. The group therefore loses “tens of millions of euros” every day, according to its CEO, Klaus-Dieter Maubach.

Germany’s largest gas importer and storer had been granted this credit facility in January, before the war in Ukraine, but had not yet used it.

It is now done and the company is now calling for a “new KfW line of credit” and a “significant participation” of the State in its capital, detailed Uniper on Monday in a press release. Another measure demanded by Uniper: to be able to “pass on the increase in supply costs” to its customers, in order to “compensate (its) losses”.

The German government, which is committed to save the company, undertook negotiations with the energy company… which are slow to succeed.

Uniper draws on its winter stocks, reserves that are now strategic

Because there is urgency: to cope, the company even began last week to dip into its gas stocks, initially planned for the winter. Stocks now considered strategic reserves

Consequence: the filling rate of German tanks has been falling for a few days from 64.9% on July 12 to 64.6% on Monday, while the country is supposed to reconstitute its reserves on the contrary.

Thorny discussions with the Finnish state shareholder

The government assures that it will not “let” Uniper go bankrupt fearing cascading effects comparable to a “Lehman Brothers” of energy.

The German media evoke an entry of the State up to 25% even 30% of the capital.

But discussions are stuck between Berlin and the majority shareholder of Uniper, the Finnish Fortum, which is around 51% owned by the Finnish state.

Berlin would like the Scandinavian group to also participate in the rescue plan. Fortum is asking for the group to be restructured, grouping risky activities into a “supply company under the ownership of the German government”.

A meeting took place on Thursday between Finnish Minister for European Affairs Tytti Tuppurainen and Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck in Berlin to resolve the situation.

The Greens are fussy about the use of taxpayers’ money

A stake in Berlin also cringe within the ruling coalition, especially among the Greens, while Fortum is active in nuclear.

German taxpayers’ money must not be “misused”, declared the Green MP Anton Hofreiter.

A decision is expected before the end of the month, according to the Ministry of Economy.