FRANKFUR (Reuters) - Soon-to-be-nationalized gas importer Uniper reported a record 40 billion euro ($39.3 billion) net loss in the first nine months of this year, the biggest in German corporate history, after Russia stopped its supplies.
The loss further highlights how Russia’s decision to sever a decade-long supply relationship with Europe, most notably Germany, is impacting the continent’s energy sector, with Uniper the crisis’ biggest corporate casualty so far.
It also marks the biggest loss in German corporate history, according to Mark Spoerer, who holds the chair for economic and social history at the University of Regensburg, even dwarfing more recent outliers such as the 25 billion euros Deutsche Telekom disclosed for 2002.
Since the start of the year shares in Uniper have lost 93% of their value, giving it a current market value of 1.1 billion euros, down from 15.2 billion euros on Jan. 3.
“Our half-year numbers already indicated that this has left massive scars in our financial results,” Chief Financial Officer Tiina Tuomela said, adding that an agreed stabilization package that will see Germany take over Uniper was currently being finalized.
Uniper said the net loss factored in 10 billion euros of realized losses the company incurred by replacing Russian gas volumes on the spot market at much higher prices.
This caused daily losses of more than 100 million euros when gas prices spiked over the summer, a number has come down to less than 10 million per day at the end of October as markets have cooled off, Uniper said.
The net loss also includes 31 billion euros of future losses related to the same issue.
Shares in the company were down 3%.
Tuomela said talks were now focused on how to replace a planned gas levy, due to come into effect on Oct. 1 but scrapped at the last minute, with an instrument that will effectively pass on the massive losses to Uniper’s future owner - the German government.