June 1 , 2002
The Top 10 The Ten Most Intriguing Business Decisions in the Post-Enron World.
10. Exelon throws in the towel on pebble bed ...
Exelon drops out of partnership studying the commercialization of pebble bed modular reactor nuclear technology. As the only U.S. utility considering PBMR, some predict Exelon's exit could put development of the technology on the backburner in the United States.
9. ... Exelon, Entergy, Dominion ready to do the rounds on traditional nuclear
Exelon, Entergy and Dominion this spring become the first companies to name sites for possible new nuclear plant construction under the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's early site processing. Entergy selects its Grand Gulf nuclear station, near Point Gibson, Miss., as a possible location for the construction of a new reactor, while Dominion announces that it might seek to expand its North Anna nuclear plant in Louisa County, Va. Exelon is eyeing its existing Clinton (Ill.) nuclear plant site for possible expansion.
8. AES wants out of Cilcorp marriage
Three years after acquiring it, AES agrees to sell Cilcorp to Ameren. AES says the sale will significantly contribute to its balance sheet in keeping with its commitment to improve its declining liquidity.
7. New-look Aquila goes hunting
UtiliCorp United swims against current by changing name to Aquila as part of strategy to convey the company's increased focus on energy trading and risk management. Still aware of the importance of assets, though, Aquila hits the M&A circuit and announces deal to buy power producer Cogentrix Energy, nearly doubling Aquila's capacity to generate power.
6. Centrica spurns NP, inherits AEP assets
Anxiety about NewPower Holdings' ties to Enron's bankruptcy gives Centrica cold feet in March in its quest to become the number one energy retailer in North America. Less than a month later, though, Centrica consummates a deal with AEP that transfers AEP retail accounts in Texas to Centrica, giving the U.K. giant a stronger foothold in Texas' deregulating market.
5. National Grid plots U.S. invasion
National Grid Group proposes merger with Lattice Group, owner of British pipeline company Transco, creating a combined company this fall with a market cap of $24 billion. National Grid proclaims that one of the most important reasons for the deal is to create new M&A opportunities in the northeastern United States.
4. Trans-Elect, CMS make history
In a first-of-its-kind deal, Consumers Energy, a subsidiary of CMS Energy, closes on the sale of its transmission system, known as Michigan Electric Transmission Co., to private power grid company Trans-Elect. The deal is the first outright sale of a U.S.-based transmission system to an independent transmission company.
3. UBS Paints Pin Stripes On Former Enron Traders
UBS Warburg acquires the energy trading operations of Enron this past winter and launches its own version of EnronOnline called UBSWenergy.com. Housed in the new office building mirroring Enron's headquarters in downtown Houston, UBS Warburg Energy retains about 625 former Enron employees. UBS acquires Enron's trading business for no up-front money. It promises to give Enron 33 percent of the profits of the operation, climbing to 45 percent in 10 years.
2. Calpine signs California peace plan
Facing a credit crunch and a pushy state attorney general, Calpine agrees with California to shorten the length of power supply contracts and pay the state several million dollars. The renegotiated deals plus Calpine's decision to issue new stock and gather new credit lines should help the battered independent power producer build a cash cushion for the future. and ...
1. Dynegy leaves Enron at the altar, clings to so-called cash cow pipe
Dynegy grabs rights to sure-thing Northern Natural Gas pipeline from Enron in January as collateral for a $1.5 billion cash infusion it made during its aborted takeover of Enron last fall. But wait. The traditionally financially strong Northern Natural reports first-quarter 2002 loss. Perhaps Enron is less keen now to buy back the pipeline, which it has rights to if it can raise the money by June 30.
PS: Do you have your own top 10 list of the most intriguing business decisions? E-mail senior editor Mark Hand at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll publish the best ones.
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