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Germany Backs $6.8 Billion RWE Unit Sale to Russian Group

Germany’s Economy Ministry cleared the sale of RWE AG’s Dea oil and gas unit to the LetterOne group of investors led by Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman.

The ministry has been examining whether the deal, which values Dea at about 5.1 billion euros ($6.8 billion), including debt, violates strategic German interests. The ministry found no reason for concern about the sale, spokeswoman Tanja Alemany said today in Berlin.

“We don’t expect any disruptions to energy security,” she told reporters.

LetterOne was set up by Fridman and co-investor German Khan last year to invest part of the $14 billion they gained from selling a stake in the Moscow-based TNK-BP oil venture. While the Russians seek to move their energy investment abroad, RWE, which turned to a loss in the second quarter, wants to raise cash from asset sales. The sale of Dea is still subject to approval by authorities in “several countries” in which the unit operates, RWE said in May.

“With this decision we have taken a step forward in the selling process,” Annett Urbaczka, an RWE spokeswoman, said by e-mail from Essen, Germany. “We will now continue with the process according to plan.”

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