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The Weakest Link in Germany’s Economic Engine Is Fraying

A utility spun off to milk fossil-fuel assets epitomizes Berlin’s dependence on Russian energy.

Uniper's Staudinger coal and gas power plant in Grosskrotsenberg.

Uniper's Staudinger coal and gas power plant in Grosskrotsenberg.

Photographer: Ben Kilb/Bloomberg

Germany’s energy security hinges on a utility whose bets on Russian energy are backfiring in the geopolitical standoff over President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Amid volatility on gas markets, Uniper SE — created six years ago to run aging fossil-fuel assets — has shown increasing signs of financial strain, raising the prospects that Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government and parent Fortum Oyj may have to extend the Dusseldorf-based company even more money.