Fortum has taken a major step towards acquiring Uniper, an energy company based in Düsseldorf, Germany.
The Finnish state-owned energy company announced last weekend that its public takeover offer has been approved by a Russian government commission for monitoring foreign investments. Fortum, the commission stated, can acquire a maximum of 50 per cent of shares and voting rights in the energy company.
The offer will thereby be presented to the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia. Fortum said it expects a decision within 30 days.
“We are very pleased to have received the government commission’s approval as this represents an important step on our path to becoming a major shareholder in Uniper,” Pekka Lundmark, the CEO of Fortum, commented in a press release on Saturday.
Fortum revealed that it is under the impression that the takeover was limited to 50 per cent of shares and voting rights due to “a technical matter”. Russian laws, it explained, restrict the control of strategic activities by foreign companies in majority state ownership.
Unipro, the subsidiary of Uniper in Russia, is primarily engaged in the production of energy at gas and coal-fired power plants. While its energy production operations are not considered a strategic activity, its tap water examination licence and related small-scale water supply operations are considered strategically important in Russia.
Lundmark assured that the decision to limit the acquisition to 50 per cent of shares and voting rights is not a major hurdle for Fortum, as it does not undermine the efforts of the energy company to generate value for shareholders.
“Those plans, however, depend on constructive co-operation with Uniper’s management,” he added, referring to reports that Uniper's management has campaigned against the transaction in Russia.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi