Drawing the short straw

Northumbrian Water and Midlands Electricity

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Back in 2000, Midlands Electricity was a profitable and, to all intents and purposes, a viable going concern. The business profile of the utility was supported by predictable revenues and underpinned by the regulated electricity distribution operations. A year earlier, the company had sold off its supply business, which further bolstered its profile.

In August 2000, when US energy firm FirstEnergy made a bid for Midlands, the company was in possession of a respectable single-A minus ra

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