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Exclusive: Nationalised German energy firms pay traders big bonuses after losing billions

German energy firms Sefe and Uniper (UN01.DE) have awarded some traders millions of dollars in bonuses for 2022, four sources familiar with the matter said, just months after the companies were rescued with multi-billion bailouts as Russia halted gas supplies.

Germany has so far provided around 26 billion euros ($28.6 billion) in equity injections and loans to Sefe and Uniper after they incurred record losses purchasing natural gas cargoes at record prices to replace lost supply from Russia - Germany's top gas supplier before the invasion of Ukraine.

While paying bonuses at bailed-out energy groups raises questions around the use of taxpayers' money, it also highlights the need for the companies to remain competitive.

Both Sefe - short for Securing Energy for Europe - and Uniper had to agree to salary limits for their management boards as part of the bailouts but the bonus caps do not apply to all staff.

One of the sources said 200 of Sefe's traders in London had received hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses, adding mid-level traders had received $5 million-$7 million each. Two of the other people said that generous subsidies had been paid at both Sefe and Uniper.


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