BERLIN, November 14. /TASS/. The German government has decided to nationalize Gazprom’s former subsidiary, the SEFE (Securing Energy for Europe) company, which owns the largest underground gas storage facility in Western Europe, in the city of Reden. An order to this effect was published by Germany’s Federal Herald (Bundesgesetzblatt) on Monday.
The German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Protection justified the move by the looming insolvency of SEFE, which would endanger the security of Germany's supply. "In order to prevent this risk and keep SEFE operating, a change in ownership and stabilization of the company is currently underway," the statement said.
Article 17 of Germany’s Law on energy security serves as the legal basis for the measure. SEFE is a key company in the country’s energy sector, the ministry emphasized. "However, the ownership situation is still unclear," according to the statement.
On Saturday, the European Commission (EC) approved the allocation of 225.6 mln euro for the nationalization of SEFE by the German government, saying that the move would enable the country’s authorities to become %100 owner of SEFE GmbH, replacing Gazprom Export, for the purpose of ensuring gas supplies to Germany. "The existing equity capital in the amount of 225.6 mln euro will be zeroed, which will virtually put an end to the ownership rights of the present Russian shareholder," the document said. "Later SEFE GmbH will issue new ordinary shares with the same nominal value. Consequently, the measure will not change the equity capital of SEFE GmbH," the EC added.
Der Spiegel reported at the end of September that the German authorities intended to nationalize SEFE after the energy firm Uniper. Prior to 2022 it was called Gazprom Germania GmbH. It was reported that plans to nationalize the company were connected with measures to stabilize the gas importer VNG, which requested state aid in early September. VNG concluded gas supply contracts through Gazprom's former subsidiary until the Nord Stream pipeline was shut down.
In April, the German Economy and Climate Action Ministry placed Gazprom Germania GmbH under the management of the Federal grid agency (Bundesnetzagentur) until September 30. On March 31, 2022, the Gazprom Group terminated its participation in Gazprom Germania Gmbh as well as all of its assets.