Kremlin warns of more asset seizures after move against Fortum and Uniper

Kremlin warns of more asset seizures after move against Fortum and Uniper

The Kremlin warned on Wednesday it may seize more Western property in retaliation for international strikes against Russian firms, after taking non permanent management of property belonging to Finland’s Fortum and Germany’s Uniper.

President Vladimir Putin late on Tuesday signed a decree establishing non permanent management of the Russian property of the 2 European state-owned vitality corporations. Vitality group Fortum stated it was “investigating” and Uniper, Fortum’s former subsidiary, stated it was “reviewing” the move. The German finance ministry had no rapid remark.

The decree confirmed Moscow had already taken motion against Uniper’s Russian division Unipro and Fortum’s property. Russia made clear that the move could possibly be reversed.

Moscow has reacted angrily to studies that Group of Seven nations are contemplating a near-total ban on exports to Russia, whereas many have known as for a lot more durable sanctions to restrict Russia’s potential to battle in Ukraine.

In the meantime, the European Union is taking a look at utilizing frozen Russian property to rebuild Ukraine. Germany nationalised a former division of Russian vitality big Gazprom final 12 months.

“The decree adopted is a response to the aggressive actions of unfriendly countries,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated. “This initiative mirrors the attitude of Western governments towards foreign assets of Russian companies.”

Putin’s decree “does not deal with property issues and does not deprive the owners of their assets. Because external management is temporary and only means that the original owner no longer has the right to make management decisions,” Peskov continued.

“The main purpose of the decree is to form a compensation fund for the possible application of reciprocal measures in response to the illegal expropriation of Russian assets abroad.”



Uniper owns 83.73% of Unipro, which operates 5 energy crops with a complete capability of over 11 gigawatts in Russia and about 4,300 staff.

Fortum is majority-owned by Finland, which joined the NATO army alliance early this month. Moscow stated Finland had made a harmful mistake.

The Finnish international ministry wouldn’t instantly touch upon how Russia’s choice would replicate on relations between the 2 international locations.

“Fortum’s current understanding is that the new decree does not affect the title (registered ownership) of the assets and companies in Russia,” the corporate stated in a press release.

“However, it remains unclear how this affects e.g. Fortum’s Russian operations or the ongoing divestment process,” it added.

Fortum’s Russia division has seven thermal energy crops within the Ural area and Western Siberia, whereas it additionally holds a portfolio of wind and photo voltaic crops in Russia, along with native enterprise companions. The e-book worth of these property stood at 1.7 billion euros ($1.87 billion) on the finish of 2022.

Each firms have been attempting to exit Russia. In February, Uniper valued its Unipro stake at a symbolic 1 euro to replicate the probability {that a} deal wouldn’t happen.

The decree stated Russia wanted to take pressing measures to answer unspecified actions from the US and others it stated had been “unfriendly and contrary to international law”. The 2 entities’ shares had been positioned within the non permanent management of Rosimushchestvo, the federal authorities property company.

State-owned Russian financial institution VTB this week stated Russia ought to take into account taking on and managing the property of international firms comparable to Fortum, solely returning them when sanctions had been lifted. Fortum had beforehand flagged expropriation danger.

Asset gross sales by buyers from “unfriendly” international locations – as Moscow phrases people who imposed sanctions against Russia – require approval from a authorities fee and, in some circumstances, the president.

Moscow’s move creates a brand new headache for firms nonetheless attempting to extricate themselves from Russia. Firms with stakes in key vitality tasks and banks already face more stringent exit pathways.

Wintershall Dea , which nonetheless holds stakes in a quantity of Russian joint ventures with Gazprom , known as Moscow’s insurance policies “unpredictable” and “unreliable”. ($1 = 0.9094 euros) (Further reporting by DailyKhaleej in Moscow, Essi Lehto in Helsinki, Anna Ringstrom in Stockholm, Christoph Steitz and Vera Eckert in Frankfurt and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Enhancing by Alex Richardson)