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HomeMarketUniper’s $8.5 billion bailout by Germany gets EU green light

Uniper’s $8.5 billion bailout by Germany gets EU green light

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Uniper SE’s rescue package from Germany has been approved by the European Commission, the final clearance needed to implement the measures set out by the government to avoid the utility’s collapse.

“The measure aims at restoring the balance sheet position and liquidity of Uniper in the exceptional situation caused by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, while maintaining the necessary safeguards to limit competition distortions,” the European Union’s executive arm said late on Tuesday. “It’s necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state.”

The German gas importer’s
UN01,
+9.33%
stabilization package involves a cash capital increase of 8 billion euros ($8.50 billion) to be subscribed at EUR1.70 a share, as well as authorized capital of up to EUR26.5 billion that Germany intends to pay through 2024. As part of the agreement, the government will reduce its shareholding to a maximum of 25% plus one share by 2028, at the latest.

The approval comes with a list of conditions Uniper must fulfill. This includes a number of asset divestments, such as of the company’s 84% stake in Russia’s power generator Unipro, its North American power business and hard-coal-fired plant in Datteln, Germany, among other things.

The utility may also not make acquisitions until the end of 2026, unless they are necessary to ensure its continued viability or to drive decarbonization efforts. Any acquisition will be subject to EU approval.

Under the EU conditions, Uniper will make an contribution of 30% a year from its adjusted earnings before interest and taxes excluding losses from gas replacement costs, between around 2022 and 2024. If by the end of 2024 Uniper’s equity capitalization is higher than before, the company will have to repay the excess amount to the German state, the EU said.

Write to Giulia Petroni at giulia.petroni@wsj.com

Credit: marketwatch.com

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