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Germany weighs nationalising gas importer Sefe - sources

·1-min read

By Christian Kraemer and Tom Käckenhoff

BERLIN (Reuters) -Germany is looking at nationalising gas importer Sefe, previously Gazprom Germania, to protect it from bankruptcy, two sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday, a day after Berlin moved to nationalise top gas importer Uniper.

The sources told Reuters no decision had been taken on the potential nationalisation, which was first reported by Spiegel.

Spokespeople for the economy ministry and the energy regulator said talks on the future of Sefe were ongoing. Sefe had no immediate comment.

With Russian gas flows down sharply in response to European sanctions against Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine, Germany is struggling to secure its energy supplies.

The former Gazprom Germania has been under federal trusteeship since April to ensure gas supply in Germany.

With assets and subsidiaries in Germany, Britain, Switzerland, Belgium, the Czech Republic and outside Europe, the firm's activities are essential for the European gas market and supplies to industry and households.

Experts believe a nationalisation is likely but say it could take weeks.

With the Uniper nationalisation, Germany is already pumping at least 40 billion euros ($39.49 billion) into its three biggest Russian gas importers - Uniper, Sefe and EnBW's VNG division.

The steps are part of a wider European response to the winter crisis, including France taking over EDF.

($1 = 1.0129 euros)

(Reporting by Christian Kraemer, Rachel More and Tom KaeckenhoffWriting by Madeline Chambers and Kirsti KnolleEditing by Paul Carrel and Mark Potter)