Germany's Uniper suffers $17 billion loss amid Europe's energy crisis

The loss ranks among the biggest in German corporate history and lays bare the crisis engulfing Europe's energy markets. PHOTO: REUTERS

FRANKFURT (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) - German utility Uniper reported a net loss of €12.3 billion (S$17.3 billion) for the first half year, mainly due to lower Russian gas supplies that forced it to buy at higher prices elsewhere.

The loss ranks among the biggest in German corporate history and lays bare the unprecedented crisis engulfing Europe's energy markets.

"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 in impairments related to the cancelled Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which Uniper backed financially, in addition to goodwills of its Russian business Unipro.

"The most urgent task for Uniper is to find alternative gas supplies," Third Bridge analyst Allegra Dawes said, adding it expected deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG) via a planned Uniper-led terminal in Wilhelmshaven by the first half of 2023.

As part of a €15 billion bailout announced last month, Germany will take a 30 per cent stake in Uniper and has pledged €9 billion of credit lines via state lender KfW, €5 billion 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," Professor Maubach said.

Uniper expects the package to be approved at an extraordinary general meeting in the 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 expects earnings improvement in 2023 and aims to leave the loss zone beginning in 2024, said Ms Tuomela in the company's statement.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.