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3 Bid for Enron’s Wessex Water

March 4, 2002

LONDON (AP) _ Companies from Hong Kong and Malaysia and a consortium that includes two major British banks and the financial services arm of General Electric Co. are bidding for Wessex Water, a utility owned by the fallen energy trader Enron Corp., two of the companies said Monday.

The Royal Bank of Scotland and Abbey National said they had entered a joint bid for the company Friday, as part of a group that also included Stamford, Conn.-based GE Capital.

Competing bids came from Cheung Kong Infrastucture Holdings of Hong Kong and the Malaysian energy group YTL, said spokesmen from Abbey National and the Edinburgh-based Royal Bank of Scotland.

Neither company would comment on the terms of the bid, submitted to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the administrator for Enron Europe.

Wessex Water, one of Enron’s largest European holdings, provides water to 1.2 million people in 513,000 households across southwestern England, and sewage service to about 2.5 million people in the same area.

Gillian Winstone, a spokeswoman for Wessex Water, would not comment on the progress of the sale, saying any decision would be subject to approval by regulators.

The Italian energy company Enel said last week it was withdrawing from the sale.

Houston-based Enron bought the water company for $2.2 billion in 1998. The purchase was the cornerstone for Enron’s Azurix water unit, whose lofty ambitions of massive profits crashed, leaving it with enormous debt.

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