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Last Updated: Friday, 11 July, 2003, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Enron creditors 'to lose four-fifths'
Enron sign at Enron's former headquarters in Houston, Texas
Enron became a byword for sleaze
Most creditors of bankrupt US energy trader Enron will receive less than one-fifth of what they are owed, under a reorganisation plan filed with the US bankruptcy court on Friday.

The Houston-based company said most creditors would receive 14.4-18.3 cents for every dollar they are owed.

The restructuring plan, filed with a New York court, also includes a proposal for Enron to split into separate domestic pipelines and international companies.

To be implemented, the plan must be approved by both the court and the company's 20,000 creditors.

Enron collapsed in December 2001, leaving behind debts of about $67bn and sparking the uncovering of a wave of corporate scandals.

It was, at that time, the biggest corporate bankruptcy in history.

Prosecutors fail to nail the guilty

Thousands of Enron employees lost their jobs and most of their retirement funds, while tens of thousands of shareholders lost all of their investment.

Enron's downfall came after rumours had shattered market confidence for many weeks.

In October 2001 the company finally owned up to its corporate failings and admitted that both its profits and its asset values had been hugely inflated. In December Enron was declared bankrupt.

During the following months investigators began to untangle a web of accounting tricks, phantom profits, tax evasion and dubious corporate practices.

As Enron came tumbling down, so did its auditor Andersen, which fell apart around the world amid allegations of helping Enron devise dubious accounting schemes.

So far, the investigation into Enron's accounting tricks has not yielded a single conviction.

Former chief financial officer Andrew Fastow has been indicted on 78 charges of money laundering, fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

But neither former chief executive Jeffrey Skilling nor ex-chairman Kenneth Lay, Mr Fastow's immediate superiors, has yet been charged.

The company still faces lawsuits from former employees and shareholders.

Two new Enrons

If Enron's restructuring plan is approved, the company will split into two separate firms:

CrossCountry Energy Corporation will take over Enron's domestic business, mainly its stake in three North American natural gas pipelines.

Enron's international business, comprising 19 power and pipeline holdings, will be run by a company provisionally called InternationalCo.

A small number of creditors, with "priority claims", will receive all of what they are owed; shareholders will receive nothing.

Most creditors will receive 14.4-18.3 cents in the dollar, with the level of the payout depending on which particular arm of Enron the claim is against.

Hurdles

With the pending lawsuits and the likely arguing over the terms of the reorganisation, a final plan of how Enron will move forward may still be a long way off.

And Enron does not hold the dubious honour of the world's largest bankruptcy anymore. Telecoms firm WorldCom, now called MCI, collapsed in July 2002 with some $70bn in debts.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Enron spokesman Mark Palmer
"There'll be three separate companies, none of which will be named Enron..."



SEE ALSO:
Enron closer to creditor deal
27 Jun 03  |  Business
'Death penalty' for Enron
25 Jun 03  |  Business
Third top Enron executive arrested
03 Jun 03  |  Business
New charges in Enron case
01 May 03  |  Business
Enron hit by fresh charges
13 Mar 03  |  Business
Enron's trail of deception
13 Feb 03  |  Business


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