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: Uniper shares bounce after it asks for government bailout

Shares in Uniper, the embattled German energy company, recovered ground on Friday, as traders digested the prospects for a government bailout amid hopes for improving gas supply from Russia.

After dropping 7% in early trading, Uniper stock
UN01,
+3.13%

moved into positive territory after the Dusseldorf-based group said that it had filed for assistance from Berlin and that several alternatives were being proposed to ensure its “system-critical” operations would continue to operate.

The stabilization measures would see the German state become a shareholder and were designed to cover Uniper’s liquidity needs while protecting its credit rating, the company said.

The news follows a report on Thursday in Handlesblatt, the German newspaper, saying the government might take a 30% per cent stake in Uniper.

The utility group is Germany’s biggest buyer of Russian gas. It has struggled to supply customers after Moscow cut deliveries in response to Western sanctions applied following the invasion of Ukraine.

On giving a profit warning at the end of last month, Uniper said it had been receiving from Gazprom
RU:GAZP,
its Russia suppler, just 40% of the gas it ordered. To make up the difference, Uniper was having to pay significantly higher prices in the spot market, costing an additional 40 million euros a day, according to analysts at Credit Suisse.

Uniper’s shares, which traded above 40 euros at the start of the year, had by this week plunged below 10 euros. Following the announcement on Friday they were up 3.8% to 11.11 euros.

Fortum
FORTUM,
+3.30%
,
Uniper’s Finnish majority shareholder, rose 3% but has lost half its value this year.

Meanwhile, helping the mood in the sector was news that Canada may soon deliver to Russia a turbine needed for the maintenance of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline. The Kremlin had said on Friday that it would increase gas supplies to Europe if the turbine was returned, reported Reuters. August natural gas futures on the Dutch-based TTF trading hub fell 3.7% to 176.34 euros per megawatt-hour.

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