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December 16, 2001
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Enron seeks auction to raise funds

Beleaguered energy trader Enron Corp has sought emergency help through auction of its assets.

To salvage the remains of what once was the nation's largest energy trading business, it has asked Federal Bankruptcy Judge Jon Kyle Cartwright to hold a December 18 hearing to approve auction procedures and set January 11 for a sale date to the highest bidder, Bloomberg News said.

Trading generated about 90 per cent of the $101 billion in revenue last year for Enron.

"An auction," said an energy analyst for Raymond James & Associates Inc, "is a good and logical idea. There had been some concern they would try to resurrect it, but no one wants to trade with Enron."

Fourteen companies are considering offers, said Martin Binenstock, Enron's bankruptcy attorney. "We have so many interested parties we are going to let them all make bids."

Enron said last week that it plans to sell a majority of its trading business, as well as its water and foreign power assets, to reorganize as a much smaller company with operations in energy development, generation and exploration.

Enron said it 'believes it unlikely that (the company) will be able to successfully maintain its wholesale business and its workforce without the credible support of a substantial financial institution'.

Congress, the United States securities and exchange commission, the justice department and the labour department are looking into various aspects of Enron's collapse, particularly the company's use of complex partnerships to obscure large amounts of debt and losses.

More reports on the Enron saga

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