UK coal power station owner seeks aid from German government

The owner of the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station is in talks with the German government to secure emergency state support after 俄罗斯 slashed its gas supplies.

Uniper has issued a profit warning and is discussing “stabilisation measures” with German officials after Russia’s Gazprom delivered just 40% of the gas it had ordered.

The German group said it expected its earnings to be significantly below previous years as a result. Its shares plunged nearly 20% in response.

Russia has been limiting gas supplies to western 欧洲 since the start of the war in Ukraine.

Energy firms on the continent have dashed to fill up gas storage facilities before the winter for fear supplies will be completely cut off.

Germany last week triggered the second stage of a national gas emergency plan that could lead to rationing if shortages continue. Uniper said government support could include “equity investments” and an expansion of a €2bn credit facility with a state bank agreed earlier this year as the energy crisis ramped up.

John Musk, an RBC Europe analyst, said other European utility companies with gas supply exposure – including E.ON, RWE, Enel and Engie – could also be negatively affected by the situation.

Russ Mould, an investment director at AJ Bell, 说: ”[Uniper] has been forced to buy energy in the market after Gazprom delivered less than half of its contractually committed volumes of gas over the past fortnight.

“Uniper is in a pickle as it can’t yet pass on these higher costs, so there is significant financial pressure on the business.”

Shares in Uniper, which is worth nearly €5bn, are down 67% so far this year.

Uniper owns the Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station in Nottinghamshire as well as a string of UK gas plants.

Britain has access to significant quantities of gas from the North Sea and Norway. This week it emerged that the National Grid had drawn up emergency measures, including cutting off supplies into Europe.

The government is in talks to extend the life of one of the units at Ratcliffe-on-Soar to shore up energy supplies during winter.

Separately on Thursday, Gazprom cancelled its dividend for the first time since 1998. The state-backed company said its investors had blocked plans to make a large payout for 2021 at its annual meeting.

The Russian state owns 38% of the energy supplier, with other state companies owning a further 12%. The dividend decision sent its shares plummeting by 25%.

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