Pummelled by gas crisis, Germany’s Uniper posts $12.5 billion net loss

By Thomson Reuters Aug 17, 2022 | 12:47 AM

By Christoph Steitz and Tom Käckenhoff

FRANKFURT/DUESSELDORF (Reuters) -German utility Uniper, which secured a 15 billion euro state bailout last month, reported a net loss of 12.3 billion euros ($12.5 billion) for the first half, mainly due to lower Russian gas supplies that forced it to buy at higher prices elsewhere.

“Uniper has, for months, been playing a crucial role in stabilising Germany’s gas supply – at the cost of billions in losses resulting from the sharp drop in gas deliveries from Russia,” Chief Executive Klaus-Dieter Maubach said.

Uniper, Germany’s largest importer of Russian gas, said more than half of the net loss was due to significantly reduced gas deliveries from Moscow, which has cut flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to just a fifth.

The loss also includes 2.7 billion euros in impairments related to the cancelled Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which Uniper backed financially, in addition to goodwills of its Russian business Unipro.

As part of the state bailout, Germany will take a 30% stake in Uniper and has pledged 9 billion euros of credit lines via state-lender KfW, 5 billion euros of which have been drawn.

“This will prevent a chain reaction that would do much more damage. Our top priority now is to swiftly implement the stabilisation package,” Maubach said. Uniper expects the package to be approved at an extraordinary general meeting in autumn.

Uniper also said it was unable to give an outlook for 2022, only saying it expected a loss. Profits are forecast to improve next year and the aim is to leave the “loss zone” in early 2024, Chief Financial Officer Tiina Tuomela said.

Uniper said the current situation in Russia could lead, in a worst case scenario, to an expropriation or loss of control over Unipro, in which it holds 83.7% but which it wants to sell as soon as possible.

($1=0.9821 euros)

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Edmund Blair)