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Archive for Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Shareholder angst strikes Western Resources

July 11, 2001

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— A meeting Tuesday at the site of Western Resources Inc.'s newest generating station did little to ease stockholders' concerns.

Many said they were hoping the day would answer questions about the Topeka, Kan.-based company's plans to merge with Public Service Company of New Mexico and a compensation package for Western's top executives.

Instead, they said they were left with more questions and more suspicions about the company's intent, including the choice of locations for the annual meeting.

"It was a very unsatisfactory meeting," said Jenny Davis of Wichita, Kan.

Her husband, John Davis, said he had sought answers to questions about the board of directors, the proposed transfer of debt to Western's utility divisions and the continued troubles with its Protection One security company.

He didn't find them.

David Wittig, Western's president and chief executive, told 175 stockholders during the brief meeting official business was concluded in less than 15 minutes declined to comment Tuesday about Western's pending $151 million rate increase request or the merger with the New Mexico utility, only to say the plans remain on the table.

"We don't have a Plan B," Wittig said.

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