Fortum 'confident' it can win Russian approval in Uniper deal

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland's Fortum FORTUM.HE said it is confident that Russian authorities will give the approval needed for it to gain control of Uniper UN01.DE, after announcing it would increase its stake in the German company to more than 70.5%.

State-controlled Fortum has been seeking to control of the German company since 2017 but has faced opposition from Uniper’s top management and Russian regulators have so far capped Fortum’s ownership in Uniper at 49.99% due to a strategic water license operated by the German firm’s local subsidiary.

Fortum’s CEO Pekka Lundmark said recent discussions with Russian authorities have led it to believe that there was “a solution” to the ownership limit.

“We would have not taken this step unless we are quite confident that an approval can be obtained,” Lundmark said on an analyst call.

Reporting by Anne Kauranen, editing by Louise Heavens