Emmanuel Thomas, DPA, Wednesday, May 24, 2023
BERLIN – German energy company Uniper, which was nationalized in the wake of the gas crisis, is to be privatized again as soon as possible, according to the board of directors.
“Our goal is to return Uniper to predominantly private hands as an independent company as quickly as possible,” said chief financial officer Jutta Dönges at the annual general meeting on Wednesday.
This goal is one of the “essential guard rails” in the current review of Uniper’s future strategy, she said.
Dusseldorf-based Uniper hit severe financial problems because of the Russian gas supply cut-off prompted by Western sanctions in the wake of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
The lack of supplies from Russia forced Uniper to buy a lot of gas on the open market at higher prices, leading to huge losses. The German government stepped in and took over the energy giant last year to avert a collapse.
Dönges highlighted the German government’s commitment to the European Union to find a way to reduce its stake in Uniper to 25% plus 1 share by the end of 2023. As former managing director of the federal government’s finance agency, Dönges said she had overseen many company rescues.
“I have seen that the path back to independence after a successful stabilization can lead to a successful return to independence,” she said, adding that Uniper would also succeed in this.