| 15.4°C Dublin

Germany’s Uniper suffers €12bn loss in energy shock

Close

Klaus-Dieter Maubach, CEO of German utility Uniper, one of Germany's largest publicly listed energy supply companies, poses in front of the company's logo in Duesseldorf, Germany, July 8, 2022. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Klaus-Dieter Maubach, CEO of German utility Uniper, one of Germany's largest publicly listed energy supply companies, poses in front of the company's logo in Duesseldorf, Germany, July 8, 2022. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Klaus-Dieter Maubach, CEO of German utility Uniper, one of Germany's largest publicly listed energy supply companies, poses in front of the company's logo in Duesseldorf, Germany, July 8, 2022. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Uniper reported a loss of more than €12bn, ranking among the biggest in German corporate history and laying bare the unprecedented crisis engulfing Europe's energy markets.

Earnings from the utility, which last month received a government bailout, show just how severe the situation is as the European Union braces for winter.

Russia has curbed gas supplies to the EU amid heightened tensions over its invasion of Ukraine, with the effect rippling across the continent, fanning inflation and threatening to push some of the continent's largest economies into recession.

"Uniper has for months been playing a crucial role in stabilizing Germany's gas supply -- at the cost of billions in losses resulting from the sharp drop in gas deliveries from Russia," Chief Executive Officer Klaus-Dieter Maubach said in the firm's earnings statement.

The loss, on an IFRS basis, includes a €6.5bn hit from future gas shortages and reflects impairments of €2.7bn related to its Nord Stream 2 loan and goodwills from the Global Commodities and the Russian Power Generation unit, the firm said.

Supply curtailments forced Uniper to buy gas in the spot market to fulfil contracts, pushing it to the edge of insolvency.

That led to a €17bn rescue package from the German government to prevent the company's collapse, which could have had a domino effect on the country's energy system.

'Eye of the Storm'

"Uniper remains in the eye of the storm of the European energy crisis," John Musk, an analyst at RBC Europe Ltd., said in a note. "Uniper remains one only for the very brave."

The utility posted an adjusted loss before interest and taxes of €564m in the first half, after earnings of €580m in the same period last year.

The company's net debt jumped to €2bn from €324m amid negative cash flow, along with measures to improve liquidity in the gas and carbon emissions-allowance businesses.

The forecast for this year still cannot be issued "within an adequate range because of the volatile environment," the company said, expecting a "substantial negative result".

Its previous forecast for this year was in the range of €1bn and €1.3bn.

"The war in Ukraine has significantly negatively impacted the risk and chances profile of the Uniper Group" the company said in the interim report.

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of business.

This field is required

The conflict exposes the company "to several new material risks and increases the potential worst-case impact and probability of occurrence of multiple existing risks."

Germany, still heavily dependent on Russian supplies despite efforts to diversify, is racing to build sufficient stockpiles to avoid severe rationing when the weather turns cold.

The government has urged lower consumption, seeks to revive coal power plants and is rethinking the phase out of its remaining nuclear power plants.

This week, it also slapped a levy on gas use, leaving households bracing for higher energy bills and exacerbating the Europe-wide cost-of-living crisis.

Russian Supplies

Moscow and Berlin are in a standoff over the return of a key turbine for the Nord Stream gas pipeline, with the machine stranded in Germany after repairs in Canada.

Gazprom has slashed flows via Nord Stream to just 20pc of capacity, prompting the German government to repeatedly voice concerns supply could be cut off completely.

Uniper will have to deal with the full economic loss of replacing Russian gas until September 30, when the government will introduce a mechanism to allow utilities to pass on 90pc of costs to customers.

The government stands ready to further support the company, if replacement cost losses that can't be offset by operating profits from other businesses exceed €7bn, according to the financial report.

Uniper expects earnings improvement in 2023 and aims to leave the loss zone beginning in 2024, said CFO Tiina Tuomela in the company's statement.


Most Watched





Privacy