September 29, 2017 / 2:42 PM / a year ago

Uniper CFO warns of credit risk in case of Fortum takeover: BoeZ

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Uniper (UN01.DE) fears it could lose its crucial investment grade rating if a planned takeover by Finnish peer Fortum (FORTUM.HE) goes ahead, its chief financial officer told a German paper.

Fortum earlier this week said it would launch a 22-euro-per-share offer for Uniper, valuing it at 8.05 billion euros ($9.50 billion). The price drew criticism from Standard & Poor’s, which placed its ‘BBB+/A-2’ ratings on Fortum on creditwatch with negative implications.

So far, S&P has a ‘BBB-‘ rating on Uniper, one notch above junk, which Chief Financial Officer Christopher Delbrueck fears could be at risk if the deal goes ahead.

“We are very close to our target of a comfortable investment grade rating. We could lose that status as part of a takeover in the current set-up,” he told Boersen-Zeitung. “That destroys value for investors and sets back Uniper in its development.”

Uniper’s net debt stood 3.26 billion euros at as of June, far bigger than Fortum’s 605 million euros. Uniper Chief Executive Klaus Schaefer told Reuters earlier this week that he saw the offer by Fortum as hostile.

Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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