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Industry News

Aquila Sheds Trading Unit

LCG, June 21, 2002--Early this week, Kansas City-based Aquila announced it would end its energy trading activity, due to the capitalization it required and the level of risk it entailed as compared with its regulated and un-regulated electric power businesses.

Last year, energy trading helped the company to realize 90 percent of a total of $40 billion in revenue. Aquila will seek a buyer for its trading operations, but barring a sale, 1,200 employees of the Merchant Services trading division will likely all have been let go by the end of summer. Approximately two-thirds work in Kansas City, while the remainder work in Texas and Europe.

Aquila has already announced plans to sell as much as $1 billion worth of assets to pay down debt, in an attempt to bolster its risk profile. The company's president and chief executive, Robert Green, said the decision to end trading was difficult, but unavoidable under the circumstances.

The company's current name originated from an energy-trading subsidiary of what was known until March as Utilicorp United, and which still operates electric and natural gas utilities and sells merchant power within seven states and Canada. Prior to being called Utilicorp United, the company was known in 1985 only as Missouri Public Service Company.
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