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Uniper says Utility, Government Weighing Bailout Options

  • Uniper says looking at bailout alternatives with government
  • No new bailout decisions made, company says
  • Shares in company down 16%
  • Nationalisation is the only solution, source says

Sept 14 (Reuters) - Uniper said it was looking at alternatives with the German government for bailing out the utility, including a possible a straight stake increase, sending its shares more than 16% lower on Wednesday.

The stock fell about 7% earlier in the day after Bloomberg citing sources familiar with the matter reported that the government could take a stake of more than 50%.

In July, Berlin said it would take a 30% stake as part of a rescue deal for Germany's largest importer of Russian gas as rising power prices burn up the company's cash reserves.

But Uniper requested more financial help from the German government in August, raising the bill for its bailout to 19 billion euros ($19.04 billion).

On Wednesday, Uniper, whose shares were down were down 7.8% at 0952 GMT, said no decisions have been made beyond what was agreed in July.

"The parties are looking into alternative solutions, inter alia a straight equity increase that would result in a significant majority participation by the German Government," it said in a statement.

Finland's Fortum, Uniper's largest stakeholder, also said talks with the German government continued.

The economy ministry declined to comment on the talks.

Uniper CEO Klaus-Dieter Maubach had in July flagged the possibility that the German government could end up holding more than 50% of the company.

"Nationalisation is the only solution left, Uniper's capital resources are totally under water. Mathematically speaking, there is nothing else that could be done," a source close to the matter told Reuters. The state will take more than a 50% stake, and is likely to take over full ownership, the source said, adding there were few other alternatives left.

($1 = 0.9979 euros)

Reporting by Baranjot Kaur in Bengaluru, Riham Alkousaa and Tom Kaeckenhoff in Berlin, Emma-Victoria Farr, Christoph Steitz in Frankfurt and Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen; editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Jason Neely

Source: Reuters

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