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German energy firms pay big bonuses after bailout

STORY: Two German energy companies, Uniper and Sefe, have awarded some traders millions of dollars in bonuses for last year.

It comes just months after the firms were rescued with multi-billion-dollar bailouts due to Russia halting gas supplies.

That's according to four Reuters sources close to the matter.

Germany has so far given close to $29 billion in equity injections and loans to both companies.

Both Sefe and Uniper had posted record losses due to buying natural gas at record prices to replace the lost supply from Russia.

The firms had to agree to salary limits for their management boards as part of the bailouts, but bonus caps didn't apply to all staff.

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One of the sources said 200 of Sefe's traders in London were given hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.

Mid-level traders had received up to $7 million each.

Sefe said the performance of its employees justified payments that rewards their contribution to security of supply.

It argued the bonuses kept Sefe competitive in the human resources market.

Uniper confirmed that bonuses were paid to trading staff.

They also pointed toward competition for traders in the energy industry being intense, and said zero bonus was not appropriate.