24 May, 2002 – US energy group Aquila today issued a statement refuting recent media reports of significant job losses within its European operations.

Earlier this week, Aquila announced that 200 positions would be eliminated from its Merchant Services and Corporate staffs as part of its ongoing programme to improve the company’s credit rating to BBB+/Baa1. The great majority of the 200 announced redundancies have been effected at Aquila, Inc.’s and Aquila Merchant Services, Inc.’s Kansas City, Missouri, corporate headquarters. Aquila’s said that out of its 200 European Merchant Services operation less than five per cent of these were impacted.

Aquila said its European operations have been exceeding financial expectations this year. However, the areas impacted by redundancies were not meeting their business plan targets and needed to be scaled appropriately. Aquila’s Merchant Services Group is aggressively maintaining its core commodity trading, risk merchant and related businesses in the UK, Continental Europe and Nordic Region, according to the statement.

Describing recent media coverage and market speculation, Aquila Europe Managing Director Janine McArdle said, “We have taken the steps necessary to meet the new financial metrics requested by the rating agencies and in the process our actions have been grossly misreported. We have an outstanding business plan and people who remain committed to executing that plan”. He said that due to the pressure being applied by the rating agencies, these are difficult times for all energy companies.

“Reporting erroneous information is not only irresponsible but potentially damaging to the energy sector as a whole and also to the majority of the individuals within the sector who conduct their roles with the utmost integrity,” said McArdle.