With far less gas and oil to sell because of Europe’s sanctions against Russia, European energy companies are running into trouble. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Last weekend, Credit Suisse repo guru published what may have been the most insightful snippet of the entire European energy crisis (to date) when he extended the infamous “Minsky Moment” framework to Europe, and specifically Germany, which he said “can’t cover its payments without Russian gas and the government is asking citizens to conserve energy to leave more for industry.” He then elaborated that “Minsky moments are triggered by excessive financial leverage, and in the context of supply chains, leverage means excessive operating leverage: in Germany, $2 trillion of value added depends on $20 billion of gas from Russia… …that’s 100-times leverage – much more than Lehman’s.” (Zoltan’s entire note is a must read for everyone with a passing interest in what comes next).
But while Germany still pretends it can somehow avoid a devastating crisis this winter besides bailing out Uniper, one of the country’s biggest utilities (after all, admission would make Trump’s 2018 warning accurate and prescient, and everyone knows that according to Western intellectual snobs Trump can’t possibly ever be correct), other European nations are succumbing to what Zoltan dubbed a “supply-chain Minsky moment.”
On Wednesday it was Austria, which announced it would bail out the country’s main energy supplier with a two-billion-euro ($2 billion) loan, the AFP reported. Chancellor Karl Nehammer said the loan to Wien Energie was an “extraordinary rescue measure” to ensure its two million customers – mainly Vienna households – continue to receive electricity. It will run until next April.
Wien Energie asked for a bailout this weekend after suffering financial trouble amid soaring energy prices and speculation the company mismanaged their funds. Nehammer said Wien Energie, which is owned by Vienna, would have to answer questions as to how they got into trouble.
“The goal was to help people quickly… It has now been agreed that all of these questions, which are rightly raised, must be answered promptly by Vienna (and) the energy supplier,” he told reporters.
The company – almost entirely dependent on Russian gas – said earlier this week that it had been hit by the “price explosion” which it has not yet passed on to customers, assuring it remained solvent. As part of its rescue, the company is expected to pass through soaring costs, which means a historic price shock is coming to Austria next… and soon Sweden.
Following in Austria’s footsteps, on Saturday morning Sweden announced it will give emergency liquidity support to electricity producers after the government said it feared Russia’s decision to halt gas deliveries to Europe could place its financial system under severe strain.