Enron used its Portland General Electric utility in Oregon to make bogus orders for power in California that violated market rules and helped run up costs for consumers, a federal regulator concluded. Enron and Portland General traders misled the operator of California's electricity market and rival companies into believing power lines would be overloaded so that Enron would be paid for relieving the congestion, according to a staff report filed last week with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The report cites transactions in April and June 2000, before power prices in California increased tenfold and the state's largest utilities became insolvent buying power.
Bush to Nominate FAA Deputy
The White House said President Bush will nominate Robert A. Sturgell as deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. Sturgell, 43, is senior counsel to FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey and was Blakey's senior policy adviser when she was chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. Sturgell also is a former pilot and flight operations supervisor at United Airlines. The FAA deputy must be confirmed by the Senate.
A former Peregrine Systems manager concealed accounting problems and engaged in illegal insider trading, the Securities and Exchange Commission said. The charges against Ilse Cappel, Peregrine's former senior treasury manager, are the SEC's first against the software maker. Peregrine said in May that the SEC started an investigation after the company reported that sales had been inflated.
David Wittig, under indictment on federal fraud and money laundering charges, resigned as president and chief executive of Topeka, Kan.-based Westar Energy. A federal grand jury has accused Wittig and Clinton Odell Weidner II, the former president of the Capital City Bank, of hiding their plans for a $1.5 million loan from the bank to Wittig.
Moody's and Standard & Poor's affirmed their AAA ratings on General Electric after chief executive Jeffrey R. Immelt said Wednesday that he will reduce a $17 billion capital shortfall at the company's finance unit, General Electric Capital, by 2006. The unit accounts for about 45 percent of General Electric's profit. Bloomberg News reported that GE plans to sell the part of the finance unit that makes loans to small businesses. The company reportedly is seeking to clear $150 million on the unit, which has assets of about $3 billion. The unit includes assets of Heller Financial Inc., which GE bought for $5.3 billion in 2001.
Vivendi Universal's chief executive, Jean-Rene Fourtou, who took over in July pledging to sell assets and cut debt, turned down two offers for units totaling $22 billion in the past four weeks -- 54 percent more than Vivendi's market value. The Paris-based media company said it rejected an offer from American Marvin Davis for Vivendi's U.S. division. Bloomberg News, citing unidentified sources, said Davis offered $15 billion. Last month, Vivendi turned down Vodafone's $6.8 billion offer for its 44 percent stake in the French phone firm Cegetel.
Argentina will attempt to spur consumer spending and revive economic growth by ending all restrictions on checking accounts, freeing $6 billion frozen in banks for almost a year. The International Monetary Fund has said ending the limits is a condition for new loans to Argentina.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts said profit increased 56.3 percent in the third quarter. It earned $10.1 million for the three months ended Nov. 3, compared with $6.5 million in the third quarter of 2001. Revenue rose to $129.1 million from $99.8 million.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.