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Energy group Wintershall seeks to sue Kremlin over seized Russian assets

Wintershall Dea is on the lookout for a option to sue Moscow after the Kremlin expropriated the German firm’s enterprise in Russia and wiped €2bn off its accounts.

The power group final month final month turned one of many final western oil and fuel producers to announce its exit from Russia following the nation’s assault on Ukraine, admitting it had misplaced management of its wells in addition to the financial institution accounts it shared with its three way partnership associate Gazprom.

Chief govt Mario Mehren mentioned on Thursday that Wintershall — one of many important European traders within the suspended Nord Stream 2 fuel pipeline between Russia and Germany — was now investigating “authorized claims we’d have towards the Russian state, or others”.

He added that the corporate “will attempt all the pieces that will likely be attainable . . . and can execute it with out making huge bulletins”.

Wintershall, which is majority owned by BASF, revealed on Thursday that it had swung to a internet lack of €4.8bn in 2022 regardless of a yr of unprecedentedly excessive fuel costs due to a non-cash impairment of €7bn associated to the lack of its Russian enterprise.

Mehren was nonetheless assured that the corporate remained “sturdy and steady”, and spoke about plans to increase its enterprise in Mexico, Norway and north Africa.

Chief monetary officer Paul Smith mentioned Wintershall “had hoped, on the finish of the struggle and as soon as restrictions had been lifted”, that the money produced from its continued operations in Russia could be “dividended again” to shareholders, however that this was “not the case”.

Mehren mentioned Wintershall additionally hoped to claw again a few of its losses in Russia beneath the German authorities’s federal funding assure, which some analysts have estimated might be value €2bn to €2.5bn.

The chief govt, who days earlier than the invasion of Ukraine had nonetheless been advocating for nearer ties with Russia, declined to touch upon whether or not Wintershall may attempt to promote its Russian enterprise to the nation’s authorities or Gazprom.

“At this time limit, we aren’t disclosing particulars on our plans of how precisely we’ll realise our exit from Russia,” he mentioned.

The corporate, which human rights teams have claimed has equipped Gazprom with merchandise that can be utilized to make gasoline for Russian army jets, mentioned it aimed to finish its exit this yr.

Nevertheless, Mehren cautioned that “how lengthy that is going to take in the long run can even not solely depend upon us, it is going to additionally depend upon others”.


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