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A federal judge Monday in New York gave bankrupt Enron Corp. until July 11 to file its reorganization plan, granting the former energy trader’s request for an 11-day extension. The plan had been due Monday. But last week Enron asked for more time, saying it had reached a tentative agreement with creditors on the plan but still needed to work out details. The plan will spell out how Enron will partly pay back the creditors to whom it owes tens of billions of dollars. Besides splitting proceeds from asset sales, Enron creditors will likely receive stock in the companies created from Enron’s remaining assets in the pipelines, utility and international power sectors. Most creditors will recover less than 20 cents for each dollar of debt, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing unidentified sources. Enron spokesman Mark Palmer declined to comment on the Journal report. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Arthur J. Gonzalez, who had granted Enron four extensions already, had said he would not move the deadline back again. But Gonzalez said Monday he was granting more time because “expensive, protracted litigation” would result if Enron filed the plan and then needed to make minor changes. He also said he was impressed that Enron and its creditors had filed the request for the delay together, reflecting “a consensus that has not been evident previously.” No one opposed the delay. But a lawyer representing former Enron employees, Ronald R. Sussman, complained employees have been virtually ignored as Enron and its creditors have shaped the reorganization plan. “We’re not included in any of the discussions,” Sussman told the judge. “I have no idea whether it fairly or unfairly discriminates against employee claims.” Enron lawyer Martin Bienenstock said the company has distributed the plan only to creditors and is treating the employees fairly. Gonzalez ordered Enron to share some information on the tentative reorganization with the employees as long as they sign confidentiality agreements. Thousands of people lost their jobs and investors lost billions when Enron collapsed following revelations about shady accounting, false profits and hidden debt. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2001 — the first of the high-profile corporate scandals that have shaken the financial markets and damaged investor confidence. Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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