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October 05, 2001
Mirant Commits $50 Million to Climate Change Solutions
    by Trevor Snorek-Yates

Energy company's plans include a more robust and transparent environmental policy.


While some energy monoliths are still trying to disprove global warming theories with spin, other companies appear to be embracing a "no regrets" approach of making efforts to curb climate change.

One of those companies is Mirant, which last month announced it was dedicating $50 million to finding answers to global warming. The investment, to be made over the next 10 years, will fund mitigation measures, research into climate change, and research into less carbon-intensive power generation technologies and CO2 capture technologies. The initiative is one of several key projects outlined in the company's first annual environmental report, which was also released last month.

Atlanta-based Mirant (ticker: MIR) develops, constructs, owns and operates power plants and sells wholesale electricity, natural gas and other energy commodities. Mirant formerly was part of Southern Company and was known as Southern Energy Inc. until January of this year.

Operating with 10,000 employees in the Americas, Europe and Asia, Mirant holds itself accountable to its environmental policies by using an established set of environmental performance indicators, internal audits and assessments for assets they operate. The company also links executive compensation with environmental performance.

"Last year we developed our environmental policy which defines our commitment to environmental stewardship and applies to our business around the world," said Marce Fuller, president and chief executive officer, in the environmental report. "Through our environmental policy, we are setting a high standard for ourselves, including commitments to sustainable business practices, continuous improvement in environmental performance, and dialogue with environmental stakeholders."

Presently, Mirant owns or controls over 21,600 megawatts of electric generating capacity and with another 9,000 megawatts in development. Mirant is aiming to double these numbers by 2005.

The large cap company's expansion plans also include liquefied natural gas (LNG), a market Mirant expects to grow from $12 billion to $20 billion by 2005.

Mirant held its initial public offering on September 27, 2000 at $22 per share. The stock has had a 52-week range of $19.25 - $47.20, and closed today at $24.72. The company attributes its solid quarterly earnings ending June 30, 2001 to its operations in the Americas.

"Our diluted earnings per share from operations grew 108 percent from the second quarter of 2000 largely because of our expertise in integrating generating assets with gas and power marketing in North America," explained Ms. Fuller earlier this year.

"We are moving aggressively," said Ms. Fuller in a letter to shareowners. "By continuing to add projects that leverage our business model and capitalize on the strong fundamentals of our industry, we're confident in our ability to achieve projected earnings for 2002 and sustain long-term growth."

With plans to set a CO2 emissions rate reduction goal by year-end and the announcement of repurchasing up to 10 million shares of its common stock through the middle of this month, Mirant shows a commitment to its environmental policy and confidence in its future. With the recent downturn in energy stocks and growing international pressure for action on global warming, shareowners and other stakeholders will be closely watching whether Mirant's performance matches its words.

 

 
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