Mirant's Shares Drop After Report Delay
HARRY R. WEBER
Feb. 26, 2003
ATLANTA (AP) _ Shares of Mirant Corp. fell more than 14 percent Wednesday after the energy supplier said it would delay the release of its quarterly and year-end earnings because of an ongoing audit.
In trading on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Mirant fell 23 cents, or 14.2 percent, to close Wednesday at $1.39.
The company had planned to release its earnings later this week. Late Tuesday, the company said it is delaying that plan, but did not give a new date. It also announced it was increasing the independence of its board and continuing its executive shake-up.
Mirant, a spinoff of Southern Co., said in November that it overstated net income by $41 million from 1999 to 2002.
The following month, it denied allegations that it intentionally purged potentially damaging data from its computers. The allegation was included in a shareholder lawsuit.
Around the same time, Mirant and several other companies were subpoenaed by a federal grand jury looking into accusations that energy suppliers fixed prices and withheld power to drive up prices during California's energy crisis in 2000 and 2001.
Mirant, like the other companies under subpoena, denied engaging in such practices.
``Our target was to substantially complete our 2002 year-end audit for a call this week. However, with the audit and reaudit processes still underway, we are not at a point where we have finalized that information,'' said president and chief executive Marce Fuller.
Mirant also announced the election of Robert McCullough to its board as an independent director, the appointment of Daniel Streek as vice president and controller, and the appointment of Cameron Bready as global chief risk officer.
McCullough, a director and chief financial officer of a large investment management group, will become a member of Mirant's audit committee. He previously worked for Arthur Andersen, the auditing firm that was convicted of obstruction of justice in the collapse of Houston energy trader Enron, for more than 30 years.
In January, Mirant announced the appointment of a new chief financial officer, Harvey Wagner.
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