Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his government is continuing talks on aid to gas giant Uniper, signaling rescue tools developed during the pandemic to bail out big companies like Lufthansa are back on the table.
During the last crisis, we developed very specific instruments – and I pushed this forward as Finance Minister – to support companies that have come under pressure from circumstances for which they are not responsible,” said Scholz in an interview with public broadcaster ARD yesterday.
Uniper, the largest buyer of Russian gas in Germany, said last Wednesday that it was discussing a possible increase in state-backed loans or even investments to secure liquidity.
Germany’s economy ministry has confirmed talks are underway after sharp gas price hikes and Russia’s efforts to cut supplies hampered the Düsseldorf-based company.
Uniper is “a big company and we said we will work with the company to see what can be done,” said Mr. Scholz.
The Social Democrat chancellor said the German government’s goal is to protect both suppliers and consumers from the rise in gas prices that followed a roughly 60 percent reduction in gas flows through a key pipeline from Russia.
“It is important to be active in both areas. By the way, we’re already doing that. The many loans that we make available to the companies that work as suppliers in this area help to keep prices from breaking through,” said Scholz.
Speaking about Uniper, Scholz added that the government is “talking very closely with the company on how best to ensure that the gas supply does not suffer just because a very important company is no longer able to continue its operations”.
Government adviser Veronika Grimm said procuring replacements for Russian gas could generate liquidity
Problems, even for large gas suppliers, if the companies cannot pass the costs on to their customers in a timely manner.
Analysts estimate that the Russian gas barrier is costing Uniper 30 million euros a day.
If the federal government were to raise enough money to bail out Uniper for a year, it would cost around 11 billion euros.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/german-government-is-considering-a-state-bailout-for-gas-giant-uniper-41810556.html The federal government is considering a state bailout for the gas giant Uniper