On September 26, natGAS filed for insolvency. In the last edition, it was pointed out that the Potsdam- based gas supplier may go bust. The characterisation “gas supplier” is chosen on purpose. NatGAS has over the last years tried to reduce the dependency on gas sales and trading. Of course, power was offered as a sales product and the company did its best to develop a service business. The emphasis was on direct marketing of renewable energies, the integration of decentralised production plants into a virtual power plant and the development of flexibility management. That did not really produce results.
ener|gate Gasmarkt has since December last year been reporting about the intention of the three largest shareholders S.E.T.Energy Trading (34.4 %), Marquard & Bahls (Mabanaft) (29.7 %), and Petrogem (Vitol) (25.01 %) of finding a buyer for their share. This has not been unsuccessful. Surprisingly for many observers, Friedrich Scharr KG (6 %) partly executed a preemption right and bought the Marquard & Bahls share (ener|gate Gasmarkt 09/19). Almost simultaneously to the sales process, the long-time CEO Jörg Bauth was sacked in June and the president of the supervisory board Hans Beyer was replaced by Friedrich Scharr.
However, many sources report that already some time ago, problems of natGAS became visible. In 2018, the company bid very aggressively for new customers for Direktvermarktung and seized them from competitors. “We were not willing or able to match the prices natGAS offered as service fees”, the representative of one supplier told ener|gate Gasmarkt . A second manager used almost exactly the same words to describe natGAS’ aggressive behaviour in that segment. The consequence was in 2018 a loss of five million euros in the Direktvermarktung, several say independently. And in gas trading a loss of a similar magnitude allegedly occurred too.