German gas companies receiving state aid should not pay dividends, says economy minister

By Cecilia Butini

German energy companies receiving financial compensation for the lack of Russian gas supplies should not be allowed to pay dividends, the country’s economy minister Robert Habeck said on Tuesday.

Financial compensation for energy companies hit by soaring energy prices should not be channeled to “free” companies that don’t need it, the minister said in an interview with German radio Deutschlandfunk.

State aid should only be granted to companies whose activities are directly related to Germany’s energy supply. This means compensation will not be available to businesses that make large profits with other businesses, the minister said.

“The gas tax is not a good thing, but as I have tried to explain, it is a necessary measure to offset as fairly as possible the high prices resulting from the replacement of Russian gas,” said Mr Habeck. He added that there are charges associated with it and that the program could be changed many times.

Germany is set to impose a tax on gas consumption from October 1 until March 2024. The government cabinet will discuss the measure in a session on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Write to Cecilia Butini at [email protected]

James R. Rhodes