The German government has said it will nationalise the country’s biggest gas importer, Uniper, as it battles massive losses from Europe’s energy crunch.
The Finnish company that, until now, had controlled Uniper said Russia’s squeeze on supplies since the invasion of Ukraine meant that the unit had lost €8.5bn (£7.4bn) to date.
The latest state intervention followed a rescue package agreed in July.
The deal will see the German state take a majority stake from Fortum which, itself, is controlled by Finland’s government.
Financing of €8bn is to be made available to fund its work.
Uniper’s losses have mounted as Russia has cut back natural gas supplies to European countries supporting Ukraine.
Prices have soared for the fuel needed to heat homes, generate electricity and power factories, raising fears of business closures, rationing and a recession as the weather turns cold.
Some factories in Germany are already operating below capacity in a bid to save money.
The scramble for supplies saw Berlin take control of three Russian-owned oil refineries last week before an embargo on Russian oil takes effect next year.