Pummelled by gas crisis, Uniper posts US$12.5bil net loss in 1H

Maubach warned energy supply in Europe was far from easing and gas supply in coming winter remained extremely challenging.(File pic: Russian oil tanker)

FRANKFURT: German utility Uniper, the most high-profile victim of Europe’s energy crisis so far, reported a net loss of �12.3bil (US$12.5bil or RM55.8bil) for the first half and warned it would take until 2024 before it can return to profit.

Germany’s largest importer of Russian gas, had to be bailed out in a �15bil (RM68.2bil) rescue deal agreed with the government last month after Moscow drastically cut flows, forcing the company to buy gas elsewhere at much higher prices.

The bailout has laid bare Germany’s reliance on Russian gas imports, which accounted for around 55% of the total last year, as well as the costs related to efforts to find alternative sources to keep on powering Europe’s top economy.

“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.

Underscoring Uniper’s commitment to supply customers with agreed volumes of gas, Maubach warned energy supply in Europe was far from easing and gas supply in coming winter remained extremely challenging.

Uniper said it expected a mid to high single digit billion euro operating loss in 2022 and that next year would mark a transition year before the group could exit the “loss zone” in 2024.

Apart from equity provided by the state and bigger loans from state-lender KfW, help will also come via a gas levy that lets utilities pass on most of the costs from more expensive gas purchases to customers from October, Uniper said.

It said this would significantly reduce losses from the fourth quarter onwards. Uniper shares fell more than 9%.

Uniper said more than half of the net loss was due to sharply lower gas deliveries from Moscow, which has cut flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to just a fifth. — Reuters

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