HOUSTON, May 3 (UPI) -- Enron Corp.'s chief restructuring officer proposed a plan Friday to move the company's core energy assets out from under Chapter 11 bankruptcy and create a new power and pipeline company.
Acting Enron CEO Stephen Cooper outlined the process at a meeting of the bankrupt company's unsecured creditors in New York. The creditors and the bankruptcy judge in New York must approve the plan as part of the overall reorganization process.
The new, smaller company would focus on the transportation, distribution, generation and production of natural gas and electricity primarily in North, Central and South America.
"We believe this process will lead to the maximization of value of Enron's core energy assets and the mitigation of risk by removing viable operations out from under Chapter 11," he said. "This enables Enron's creditors to realize value from the company's power and pipeline roots through an expedited process. However, this is just one of the options that we will openly explore with our creditors."
Cooper later told reporters that the plan was well received by the creditors.
"I think they are open to working hand in hand with us to reach the common objectives," he said.
The new company, headquartered in Houston, would be temporarily called OpCo Energy Company. It could have 15,000 miles of pipeline assets, 75,000 miles of distribution assets, 6,700 megawatts of generation, and 12,000 employees.
OpCo could have $10.8 billion in assets and a projected earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization in excess of $1.3 billion in calendar year 2003, according to figures released by Enron in Houston.
The name OpCo comes from options and it may not be the final name of the company, he explained.
Cooper, the managing partner of Zolfo Cooper, LLC, a corporate recovery and crisis management firm, was hired last January by the Enron board to succeed Kenneth Lay.
Enron filed for Chapter 11 protection Dec. 11 in the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history and more than 4,000 fired employees lost their jobs and their retirement savings. The collapse is under investigation by Congress and the Justice Department.