The German government has said it will nationalize the country’s biggest gas importer, Uniper, as it battles massive losses from Europe’s energy crisis.

The Finnish company which until now controlled Uniper said Russia’s cut in supplies since the invasion of Ukraine meant the unit had lost 8.5 billion euros ($7.4 billion). pounds sterling) to date.

The latest state intervention followed a rescue package agreed in July.

The deal will see the German state take a majority stake in Fortum which itself is controlled by the Finnish government.

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Funding of 8 billion euros must be made available to finance its work.

Uniper’s losses increased as Russia cut natural gas supplies to European countries backing Ukraine.

Prices have soared for fuel needed to heat homes, power generation and power plants, raising fears of business closures, rationing and a recession as the weather turns cold.

Some factories in Germany are already operating below capacity in an effort to save money.

The rush for supplies saw Berlin take control of three Russian-owned oil refineries last week before an embargo on Russian oil comes into force next year.

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