The German energy giant RWE is facing a nerve-jangling political waiting game over its sale of the oil and gas company Dea.
Britain, where Dea is extracting gas off the coast, has blocked a fund controlled by the Russian investor Mikhail Friedman from buying the company, according to information received by Handlesblatt.
The British energy minister, Ed Davey, is refusing to grant his approval, sources close to the deal said. He reportedly has serious concerns about the sale of reserves of raw materials to a Russian investor, given the crisis in Ukraine and the international sanctions against Russia. A ministry spokesman declined to comment.
RWE said that the company is still working on finalizing a deal this year, but the signs are not good for the struggling energy company. Last month, RWE conceded that the decision in Britain had been delayed. Now it seems the ministry has made a decision, at least a tentative one, and it is not in favor of the sale.
This is causing RWE chief Peter Terium serious problems. He planned to use the income from the sale of Dea to reduce the company’s debts. The stock price of RWE on Thursday dropped by about 3 percent.
In March, Mr. Terium announced that RWE would sell Dea to Letter One, a fund based in Luxemburg. The deal was immediately questioned because Letter One is controlled by Mr Friedman’s Russian Alfa Group, and the conflict in Ukraine was flaring up at the time, with Russia being increasingly hit by sanctions.
The German economy ministry also critically examined the transaction, but gave its approval in August.