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Nationalized German Energy Firms Paid Big Bonuses To Their Traders

Uniper and Sefe, two energy firms Germany nationalized last year, paid some of their traders big bonuses for 2022, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Monday.

Traders at the companies have received millions of U.S. dollars in bonuses for last year, even as the German government had to intervene and rescue Uniper and Sefe with multi-billion-dollar bailouts.  

As part of the nationalization, the companies have agreed to cap salaries for the management boards, but the bonus limits did not apply to the entire staff, Reuters’ sources noted.

Sefe and Uniper have both confirmed to Reuters that some of their traders have received bonuses and performance-based remunerations for last year.

In 2022, Germany moved to save its energy companies which had been amassing losses with the lack of contracted Russian gas supply and the high price they had to pay on the spot market to replace lost Russian volumes.

Germany saved a former Gazprom unit it had expropriated in April with a multi-billion-euro loan to ensure security of supply. Gazprom Germania was renamed Securing Energy for Europe GmbH (Sefe), to secure energy supply to Germany and Europe, the government said in June. Europe’s biggest economy also granted a loan from its state investment bank KfW to the company to save it from insolvency. The money was to be used to secure liquidity and to purchase gas to replace Russian deliveries and to prevent a cascading insolvency effect on the German energy market.

Germany also nationalized in September 2022 energy giant Uniper, aimed at preventing a collapse of the German energy and gas suppliers. Germany owns 99% of Uniper after the nationalization, which involved a capital increase of $8.7 billion (8 billion euros). Since the July $15 billion bailout of Uniper, losses at the German company continued to mount as the energy crisis in Germany and Europe worsened before the start of the 2022/2023 winter.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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