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Uniper rescue in sight, with Germany set to take stake - sources

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FILE PHOTO: Bierwang gas storage facility near Kraiburg am Inn
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BERLIN (Reuters) - An agreement on a bailout for German utility Uniper is in sight, with the state set to take a stake in the company, German government and parliamentary sources said on Thursday.

A deal could be announced as soon as Friday, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Germany is scrambling to rescue Uniper, leading to tough talks with Uniper parent Fortum, majority owned by the Finnish state, which had previously suggested ring-fencing Uniper's German business under German government control.

Reuters earlier reported that Berlin was leaning towards taking a stake of up to 30% and that a deal would allow Uniper to pass on soaring prices to customers.

Preparations are under way on a deal that would allow Uniper to pass on some costs to consumers through a levy mechanism, as direct government support would not solve the problem of its accumulated losses, said the sources.

However, relief measures for consumers would also come into play, they added, echoing statements by Economy Minister Robert Habeck that there would not be a levy without relief.

Uniper, Germany's largest importer of Russian gas, is losing cash daily as it is forced to buy supplies at much higher prices from alternative sources because Gazprom has reduced deliveries.

Germany triggered the "alarm stage" of its emergency gas plan last month but stopped short of allowing utilities to pass on soaring energy costs.

(Reporting by Markus Wacket Writing by Miranda Murray; Editing by Rachel More and Mark Potter)

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