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Uniper will not risk investment grade rating in Fortum talks

Credit: REUTERS/INTS KALNINS

German energy firm Uniper will not risk its investment grade in fresh talks over cooperation with top shareholder Fortum, Chief Financial Officer Christopher Delbrueck said on Wednesday.

DUESSELDORF, Germany/FRANKFURT, May 22 (Reuters) - German energy firm Uniper UN01.DE will not risk its investment grade in fresh talks over cooperation with top shareholder Fortum FORTUM.HE, Chief Financial Officer Christopher Delbrueck said on Wednesday.

"For the Uniper Management Board, ensuring a stable investment-grade rating is the line in the sand for any type of cooperative arrangement," Delbrueck told shareholders at the group's annual general meeting.

Finland's Fortum, which failed to take over all of Uniper and has no option to raise its 49.99% stake for regulatory reasons, has started fresh talks with its German peer, raising hopes it will at some point get a majority.

"If Fortum were to acquire a majority stake in Uniper and thus reduce our independence, our rating could be downgraded," Delbrueck said.

Rating agency S&P attributes a 'BBB' rating to Uniper, two notches above junk.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz Editing by Tassilo Hummel)

((christoph.steitz@thomsonreuters.com; +49 69 7565 1269; Reuters Messaging: christoph.steitz.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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