Uniper Runs out of Cash, Asks for More After Latest Price Spike

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Investing.com — German energy company Uniper (ETR:UN01) said on Monday it has now fully exhausted the 9 billion euro ($9 billion) credit line it got as part of its recent bailout, due to the latest spike in natural gas prices.

As a result, it’s asking Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau, the state-backed German development bank, for another 4 billion euros. It’s also conducting fresh discussions with the German federal government and its own majority shareholder, Finland-based Fortum (HE:FORTUM), over the injection of fresh equity.

Uniper, spun out of the multi-utility E.ON (ETR:EONGn), was the biggest commercial victim of Russia’s decision to stop shipping gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline earlier this year, an act that forced it to source alternative supplies at sky-high prices on the spot market, even while it was not allowed to pass on the higher cost of those supplies to its customers. In July, with bankruptcy imminent, the government extended it a bailout worth nearly 15 billion euros, including the debt facility with KfW.

Russian monopoly Gazprom (MCX:GAZP) has throttled shipments all through the summer, as the Kremlin looks to pressure Europe into abandoning its support for Ukraine. It will shut down the Nord Stream pipeline again for three days of unscheduled maintenance on Wednesday. Fears of a longer shutdown drove benchmark Dutch gas prices to a new high of 342 euros a megawatt-hour last week – more than 12 times the prevailing level in previous years. 

Benchmark Dutch TTF futures fell sharply on Monday amid news of a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south of the country, a reminder that Russia, too, is coming under pressure from the war.