Uniper's Finnish parent Fortum agrees to Germany's bailout deal - sources

A general view of the Fortum headquarters in Espoo
A general view of the Fortum headquarters in Espoo, Finland August 18, 2017. REUTERS/Lefteris Karagiannopoulos

FRANKFURT, July 22 (Reuters) - Uniper (UN01.DE), Finnish parent Fortum (FORTUM.HE) and their governments have agreed in principle on a bailout for the German gas importer hit by high gas prices and dwindling Russian supplies, three sources told Reuters.

Germany has been trying to rescue Uniper, which became a high-profile casualty of the economic standoff between the West and Moscow after Russia's sent troops into Ukraine in February.

Under the bailout deal, the German government will take a 30% stake in Uniper and provide it with funding, the sources said, though the final details were not immediately clear.

Fortum had no immediate comment. Uniper declined to comment.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will hold a news conference at 1000 GMT on Friday and sources have told Reuters that the bailout package is likely to be announced later in the day.

Shares in Fortum, which is majority-owned by the Finnish state, were suspended in mid-morning trade after rising 8%, while Uniper stock was up 6.3% in anticipation of an announcement.

Reuters has previously reported that Berlin was leaning towards taking a stake of up to 30% in Uniper and that a deal would allow Uniper to pass on soaring gas prices to customers. read more

The government may also quadruple a credit line to Uniper via a state-owned bank, raising it to 8 billion euros ($8.2 billion) from 2 billion euros, based on an economy ministry document seen by Reuters earlier.

Uniper, Germany's largest importer of Russian gas, is losing cash daily as it is forced to buy supplies at much higher prices from alternative sources because Gazprom (GAZP.MM) has reduced deliveries.

Reporting by Reuters bureaus; writing by Matthias Williams, editing by Kirsti Knolle and Jane Merriman

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