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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 05 April 2006

Portland General Electric severed its ties with bankrupt Enron Corp. on Monday and issued its common stock as an independent company.

PGE, Oregon's largest and oldest utility, issued 62.5 million shares. About 43 percent were given to Enron creditors that have settled their claims.

The remainder is in a fund for creditors whose claims are still being resolved, which could take several years.

PGE stock is expected to begin trading in the New York Stock Exchange April 10 under the symbol POR.

PGE was eager to shed the affiliation with the disgraced parent company.

Enron bought PGE in 1997 for $3.1 billion. The two companies were not a good fit from the beginning, company officials said. Some PGE staff members called representatives of the owner "Enronians" because their style seemed so foreign.

Enron made several unsuccessful attempts to sell PGE, and efforts to convert it to a public utility also failed.When Enron declared bankruptcy in 2001, many employees saw the bottom go out of retirement plans that had been heavy with Enron stock.

State regulators approved PGE's transition to an independent company about a year ago.

Peggy Fowler, CEO and president of PGE, said Monday marked the end of the Enron burden. PGE, which generates and buys electricity for 780,000 customers in Oregon, will now be the state's sixth-largest publicly traded company.
However, PGE is not free of controversy.

The state of Oregon is investigating a tax filing by PGE for possible failure to pay $50 million in taxes. And the Portland City Council, which requested the investigation, has members critical of the company.

"You can't convince me with the disingenuous statements out of PGE that anything is going to change with the same management in there," said City Commissioner Randy Leonard. "That reflects how they view their relationship to Oregon."
PGE has complied with the investigation. Fowler said PGE is focused on putting its energy into its future as an independent business.

Initial response to the PGE issuance was positive. On Monday, stockholders traded nearly 4.8 million shares of PGE at an average $29 a share on a when-issued basis. Trades in the when-issued market obligate the seller and purchaser to commit to that transaction when the stock opens to public trading on April 10.

— The Associated Press

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