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Friday, 8 September, 2000, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Energy supplier goes bust
Independent Energy shares reach 36 in March, then are suspended on 8 September at 500 pence.
Energy supplier's share price tells a sorry story
UK electricity and gas supplier Independent Energy has shocked the markets by calling in receivers.

It is now expected to be the subject of takeover bids.

Advice to customers
There will be no immediate disconnection
Customers are liable to pay for energy they use
Industrial and commercial customers should check terms of contracts
Customers should take a meter reading today

source: Ofgem
The Solihull-based company - which supplies more than a quarter of a million customers in the UK - began having billing problems in the spring.

UK energy regulator Ofgem said it was monitoring the situation closely and advised customers to take a meter reading immediately.

Ofgem promised there would be no immediate disconnection, but warned industrial and commercial customers to "check the terms of their contracts carefully".

Out of cash

In a statement, Independent Energy said it had "explored the available avenues to find a solution to the company's billing and cash collection problems and the consequent cash-flow pressures".

In the circumstances, the Board has had no option but to invite its lending banks to appoint a receiver

Independent Energy
It went on: "Unfortunately, the Board has been unable to find a solution which is acceptable to its lending banks so as to permit them to agree to further advances required for the company to meet its immediate needs for working capital.

"Furthermore, the company has not been able to find an alternative source of working capital to meet these needs.

"In the circumstances, the Board has had no option but to invite its lending banks [a syndicate led by Barclays] to appoint a receiver."

The firm's shares were suspended on the stock market at 500 pence, valuing the company at less than 160m ($230m) and well down on the high in March of 36.00.

Takeover talks

Independent Energy had earlier announced that it was in talks with a number of parties regarding a possible offer.

Speculation had centred on a possible American buyer.

The company already has a profile in the US through its Nasdaq listing.

In 1999, the then stock-market darling Independent Energy was named Alternative Investment Market Company of the Year.

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