Enron regroups assets

Much of the international energy infrastructure business of Enron Corp. is to be regrouped into a new company, temporarily called InternationalCo. The new company will have an independent board of directors and will be protected from liabilities associated with Enron’s bankruptcy.

The move means that Enron will cease attempts to sell off the assets, which include its stakes in international electric and natural gas utilities primarily in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Shares in InternationalCo will be distributed to creditors.

Enron believes that its many assets are worth more together than if they were sold off individually. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2001.

News Digest

Black & Veatch renewables: Black & Veatch is to form a global Renewable Energy Group to provide comprehensive project services for renewable energy projects such as wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectric, geothermal and ocean energy. The new group, which the company describes as being “virtual”, draws upon expertise in Black & Veatch’s energy and water sectors, and will be structured to meet opportunities in this growing market sector.

G. A. S. growth: G. A. S. Energietechnologie GmbH concluded fiscal 2002 with a growth in revenue in excess of 40 per cent to over g40m. Much of the growth was gained through major orders in Germany – its home market – and the international markets. One of its most comprehensive orders in 2002 was for the construction of one of Europe’s largest landfill gas power plants in Barcelona, Spain.

GE AEP aligns: GE Power Systems’ Aero Energy Products (AEP) and its Aeroderivative and Package Services (APS) businesses have been brought together into one unit. The newly formed unit will be known as GE Aero Energy, and will be headquartered in Houston, TX, USA. The change is designed to closely integrate the packaging and services businesses in order to increase the focus on aeroderivative technology.

Innogy contract: Innogy has won a seven year operations contract with Rolls Royce Power Ventures for its combined heat and power plant at the Rolls Royce manufacturing plant in Derby, UK. Innogy will operate the 62 MW plant, which consists of an industrial Trent 60 WLE (wet low emissions) gas turbine, a heat recovery steam generator and a steam turbine configured in combined cycle.

Mirant confident: In her address at Mirant’s annual meeting, president and chief executive officer, Marce Fuller, expressed confidence in the long-term future of Mirant and the competitive wholesale power industry. Fuller has stressed that no fraud has been found associated with earlier financial statements. Mirant reported a $2.4bn net loss for 2002.

NRG files: US energy company NRG has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the USA in a long-expected action that includes a commitment from its parent company, Xcel Energy, to help settle debts. NRG is Xcel’s wholesale power generating unit. It was created in 2000 but has suffered financially in the difficult US wholesale market.

VA Tech figures: VA Tech Transmission and Distribution has reported an 11 per cent drop in its order intake for 2002 compared with 2001. The fall is largely due to distortion of the 2001 figures by two major projects.

GE closes Jenbacher acquisition

GE Power Systems has successfully closed its acquisition of Jenbacher, the Austria-based manufacturer of gas fired reciprocating engines and generator sets. The move will enhance GE’s abilities to serve the distributed power market around the world.

Over 95 per cent of outstanding Jenbacher shares had been tendered by the end of the offer period, allowing GE to move forward with the acquisition. The transaction has already received all the necessary regulatory approvals.

Jenbacher will become part of GE Aero Energy Products (AEP), and the headquarters and manufacturing facilities will remain in Jenbach, Austria. GE will name the company GE Jenbacher.

We are confident that the synergies of GE and Jenbacher will allow us to better serve the distributed power requirements of our customers around the world,” said Rick Stewart, president of GE AEP. “Combining GE’s sourcing network, technology, and sales and service infrastructure with Jenbacher’s existing operations will enable more rapid product development and sales growth.

“The Jenbacher engines, in addition to running on natural gas, are particularly well suited for power generation utilizing a wide range of renewable biogas and special gases. This acquisition greatly expands the GE product family for small power generation.”

ABB core improvement

ABB’s core divisions – Power Technologies and Automation Technologies – have both improved revenues and earnings in the first quarter of 2003, helping the company to stay on track to its full-year targets. Group earnings were down, however, due to non-core and corporate activities.

Revenues in Power Technologies and Automation Technologies in Q1 rose 18 per cent compared to the same period last year to $4014m due to a strong order backlog, while their combined earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) grew 33 per cent. Orders were up 11 per cent.

ABB also reported that it is confident that the Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan for subsidiary Combustion Engineering (CE) will gain approval.

For the ABB group as a whole, EBIT was $92m compared to $272m in the first quarter of 2002, but this was in line with expectations.

Powergen, Ruhrgas boost E.ON

E.ON Group’s strong performance in the first quarter 2003 indicates a healthy outlook for the year ahead, the company said. The company said it had significantly improved its Q1 operating performance compared with the same period in 2002, and noted that the inclusion of Powergen and Ruhrgas had boosted sales.

Operating earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) for the quarter rose by 56 per cent to G1.9bn, while internal operating profit rose 33 per cent. The inclusion of its recent acquisitions of Powergen and Ruhrgas led to a 64 per cent increase in group sales to G13.7bn. Higher earnings at E.ON Energie have also contributed.

The group also expects E.ON Energie to improve internal operating profits throughout the year due to earnings rises at Powergen and an improvement in Ruhrgas’ full-year 2003 results.

The success of its strategy to focus on its core energy business is now driving E.ON to implement a group-wide structure and strategy project called ‘On Top’, which aims to find ways of exploiting the company’s potential. “The principal objective is optimal integration of the acquired companies and to identify ways of achieving further value-added growth,” said Dr. Wulf H. Bernotat, CEO of E.ON AG.

Innogy buys InGenCo

UK-based Innogy has acquired the technical services business of InGenCo, a company whose core business is the supply of engineering services to the power industry.

The acquisition will enhance the engineering services capability of Innogy, which is owned by Germany multi-utility, RWE.

InGenCo’s technical services business was formed in June 2000 from Scottish Power’s technical division, and is based in Scotland.