Finnish company Fortum has signed agreements with two investment companies to buy a further stake in Uniper for 2.3 billion ($2.5 billion).
The agreements, to acquire all the shares held by funds managed by Elliott Management Corporation and Knight Vinke Energy Advisors Limited and their affiliates, would see Fortum increase its share in Uniper to more than 70.5%, takings its total investment in Uniper to around EUR 6.2 billion
The transactions are subject to regulatory clearances in Russia and the United States, which are expected to be received by end March 2020, Fortum said.
Uniper, which was spun-off of German utility E.On in January 2016, has 34GW of generating capacity in Europe and Russia. It also operates an extensive energy trading business, has sizeable natural gas storage sites in Germany, Austria and the UK, and also develops energy storage solutions to support renewable energies.
Uniper holds a 54.5% stake in the Oskarshamn nuclear plant in Sweden, with the remaning stake owned by Fortum. Fortum also owns and operates the Loviisa nuclear plant in Finland and has a share in Fennovoima, which is planning to build a VVER-1200 reactor, Hanhikivi 1, in northen Finland.
When Fortum first announced its investment in Uniper in 2017, Fortum said that together the companies would not only create value for all stakeholders but could also take a leading role in the European energy transition. However, Fortum had been unable to obtain a majority ownership in Uniper, preventing restructuring.
Fortum said it is convinced that this change in Uniper’s ownership structure as well as a resolution of the complex relationship between all parties will return stability and put focus solely on the business and the opportunities available.
“I am pleased that we have today taken this important step to create a leader in the European energy transition," commented Pekka Lundmark, Fortum’s President and CEO. "I am convinced that this will create attractive opportunities for both companies and their employees."
In a statement a Uniper spokesperson said that "conversations with the management of Fortum have been going on and we expect these to continue.”