The respondents are VNG Verwaltungs- und Beteiligungsgesellschaft (VuB) and its shareholders with the exception of Jena-Poessneck. The major VNG shareholder has called on Stadtwerke Jena-Poessneck to join EWE in suing VuB. The sum involved has been set at E300 million. EWE has named Mathias Habersack of Tubingen as arbitrator.

The aim of the consortium agreement was to bundle municipal authority influence on VNG. The assurances that EWE gave municipal authorities in eastern Germany in the 2003 agreement included a joint strategic approach and the retention of VNG’s Leipzig location. These guarantees are reportedly jeopardized by VuB’s bid to terminate the agreement.

In addition to claiming damages, EWE has reserved the right to demand repayment of a loan granted to VuB in 2004 to enable it to increase its equity investment in VNG. In return for this support the consortium agreement was signed, giving EWE the right of first refusal in respect of the VNG shareholding.

Werner Brinker, EWE’s CEO, said: There are no valid grounds for terminating the agreement. In spite of serious breaches of confidence by VuB in the past, EWE continued to stand by the consortium agreement. We have VNG’s well-being in mind and want to develop the enterprise.