Enron Stock Prices
The Enron scandal not only rocked America, it's vibrations reached out across the world. Here was one of the most respected names in American business and a name respected around the globe as a giant in the field of energy supply and now it was filing for protection from its creditors in bankruptcy proceedings. It was the biggest bankruptcy in the history of business at that time and was only exceeded by the Worldcom collapse later. The story really starts in 1985 when Houston Natural Gas merged with InterNorth, a natural gas company based in Omaha, Nebraska, to form Enron, an interstate and intrastate natural gas pipeline company with approximately 37,000 miles of pipeline. Development of the gas supply operation in America was steady then in 1988, the company took a major step in International expansion when it began work on the first privately financed and operated electricity production station in the UK when that country's energy liberalization program got started. It was in 1992 that the company first began operating in South America when it opened in Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala. 1995 saw the first steps into electricity supply in the USA and by the end of the second millennium the company had expanded its area of influence across a multitude of services including water supply and broadband telecommunications. On November 30th 2001, the Enron companies in Europe filed for bankruptcy and the American company did the same in 3 days later. Subsequent investigations revealed extensive and blatant dishonesty in Enron operations all over the world. The phrase that's usually used "creative accounting" went nowhere near describing what Enron executives had been up to. It was discovered that the company had probably used high level "friends" in both the Bush and Clinton administrations to further dubious ends and effectively bribed politicians all over the world. A particularly offensive item was that Enron had cynically and knowingly created the phoney California electricity crisis of 2000 and 2001. That followed the failed partial deregulation in 1996 of the electricity market in the state which had been signed into law by the then Governor, Pete Wilson. There were Rolling blackouts northern and central California on January 18 2001, and state-wide blackouts on March 19 and 20, 2001. In truth, there was never a shortage of power in California. In recordings of telephone calls between Enron traders and California power plant managers it's suggested that they "get a little creative" in shutting down plants for "repairs." Between 30 and 50 percent of California's energy industry was shut down by Enron much of the time, and up to 76 percent at one point - the price of electricity rose nine-fold! For most of its history, Enron had been considered "blue chip" - its stock had been reliable and showing steady growth - as would have been expected of a company of its size and influence. From the founding of the first component of what became Enron in 1930 until the news of the debacle broke, the stock had matured from a few cents to $85 - within a day's trading that had been wiped out - the stock was unsaleable at 30 cents.