Shares of Uniper SE tumbled on Wednesday, after it said it was in talks with the German government about fully nationalizing the gas importer or increasing its stake to above 50%.
The reported proposal from the government would the first time Germany has proposed to bring a private company in-house since 2008, when it nationalized printing office Bundesdruckerei, coming into effect a year later. Munich-based finance bank Hypo Real Estate was nationalized in 2009 in the midst of the financial crisis.
Earlier this year, the government floated the idea of taking over Gazprom Germania, a Gazprom subsidiary, in a bid to save Germany’s gas market. In August, German paper Welt am Sonntag reported that the government set up a holding company for the reported nationalization.
Shares in Uniper, down nearly 90% so far this year, tumbled 11% on Wednesday.
Earlier in July, the government took a 30% stake in the Dusseldorf-based energy giant to save it from potential bankruptcy as natural gas prices soared from Russia throttling down its supply of the commodity.
Moscow has been accused of weaponizing energy in retaliation for sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine more than six months ago.
“The parties are looking into alternative solutions, inter alia a straight equity increase that would result in a significant majority participation by the German Government,” Uniper said in a statement to Bloomberg.
The German economy ministry declined to provide comment to Bloomberg. MarketWatch has reached out to Uniper for a response.