Business & Finance

Enron Corp., in a deal with Merrill Lynch, booked $60 million in profits in late 1999 from gas and power trades that both sides had agreed in advance to cancel later, The New York Times reported, citing former executives with the since-bankrupt energy trader. The alleged sham transactions helped Enron to meet profit goals for the year, which meant millions in bonuses and stock for top executives. In a statement, Merrill Lynch said the power deal was legitimate and denied knowingly helping Enron misstate revenues, The Times reported.

A coveted $14 billion, 25-year contract to supply China with liquefied natural gas was won by Australia's North West Shelf energy joint venture. The consortium is led by Woodside Petroleum, and also includes ChevronTexaco, Royal Dutch/Shell, and British Petroleum. The venture will supply a terminal under construction in Shenzhen, in China's southern Guangdong province, beginning in 2005.

General Electric Co. agreed to a $1 million settlement, after being accused by the Consumer Product Safety Commission of failing to report safety problems with some of its dishwashers in a timely manner. GE knew as early as 1992 of incidents fire, smoking, and melting related to the energy-saver slide switches on six models, but didn't inform the agency until 1998. In 1999, the company recalled the dishwashers.

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