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Edison Chief Warns About EME's Debt

May 16, 2003|Nancy Rivera Brooks | Times Staff Writer

Edison International's chairman told shareholders Thursday that Southern California Edison is regaining its health after the bruising energy crisis, but that its separate power-generation subsidiary faces huge debt payments.

Edison Mission Energy, which has been hurt by the collapse of investor confidence in energy merchants, has $911 million in debt coming due late this year and an additional $1.5 billion due late next year, Chairman John Bryson said.

"For EME to survive and prosper, it's vital that we restructure its debt on terms that support shareholder value," Bryson said at the annual shareholder meeting of the Rosemead-based utility holding company.

The warning came a day after EME's debt was downgraded three notches by Moody's Investors Service -- putting it deeper into junk bond territory -- and two days after San Francisco-based PG&E Corp. said its power generation subsidiary soon would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday May 17, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 49 words Type of Material: Correction
Edison debt -- An article in Friday's Business section incorrectly stated that Edison Mission Energy's debt was downgraded three notches on Wednesday by Moody's Investors Service. The senior unsecured debt of Edison Mission, a unit of Edison International, actually fell two steps in Moody's ratings, from Ba3 to B2.

Edison shareholders Thursday approved a proposal that the company allows stockholders to decide whether to keep its shareholder rights plan -- popularly known as a "poison pill" for its purpose of discouraging hostile takeovers. Edison, which had urged shareholders to reject the proposal, is considering the matter, a spokesman said.

Edison's stock rose 10 cents to close at $15.40 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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