Williams Cos. to Sell Some Assets

Wednesday, June 19th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Williams Cos. said Tuesday it plans to sell two refining businesses in Tennessee and Alaska for more than $1 billion in an effort to bolster its finances.

The Tulsa-based company said it hopes to sell the refineries in Memphis, Tenn., and Fairbanks, Alaska, and their related assets by the end of the year.

Williams said it has received interest and one unsolicited offer for the refineries. The company declined to name the suitors.

The energy firm previously announced a plan, which also includes cuts in capital spending and equity issues, to improve its balance sheet by $8 billion.

Williams is also seeking a financially stronger partner for its energy trading business, a profitable division that's targeted for cuts.

Credit rating agencies have lowered Williams' $16 billion debt to the brink of junk amid a bust in the energy sector following the collapse of Enron Corp.

Federal regulators are also investigating Williams and its rivals to determine if the companies manipulated California's power market in late 2000 and early 2001, when prices soared and rolling blackouts occurred.