The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
wants more information from FirstEnergy Corp. about this week’s
restatement of the utility’s 2002 annual financial report. No
details were given about what type of data is being
Because of that request and the skittishness it
caused early yesterday, the utility repriced a stock sale it plans
to conduct to reduce its debt. The offering price is now $30 a share
for 28 million shares, down from the price of $30.75 set Thursday by
"If they didn’t have bad luck, they wouldn’t
have any luck at all," said James Halloran, an energy analyst with
National City Wealth Management in Cleveland. He estimated the lower
stock price will deprive the company of $24 million. It makes sense,
however, to use the lower price "to get it sold properly, so it
won’t haunt them," he added.
The analyst said he was not
overly concerned with the SEC request, saying accounting problems do
"Its stock price was up 71 cents yesterday, and that’s
as good a message as you can find from people who put their money
where their mouth is," he said. FirstEnergy’s stock closed at $31.81
in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Akron parent
of Toledo Edison disclosed in a government filing yesterday that it
had received "an informal data request" from the SEC, adding it
"intends to fully comply with the request and does not anticipate
any adverse consequences."
The company Thursday filed three
documents with the SEC, which were revised financial reports from
last year and the first two quarters of this year, because of
"typographical and minor computational errors" that amounted to tens
of millions of dollars. One number was off by $200 million. The
amendments were the third set of figures for 2002 and the second set
for the first quarter this year.
"It’s not entirely unusual,
and [the SEC] just wants some clarification in some areas," said
Kristen Baird, a FirstEnergy spokesman. She declined to give any
specifics of the request.