Williams, the second biggest US natural gas pipeline company, has obtained more than a billion in financing from a group including Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and investor Warren Buffett to stave off bankruptcy, people familiar with the matter said.
The money allowed Williams, which had reported a second- quarter loss of $498 million from trading and selling gas and electricity, to pay $300 million of floating rate debt that was sold last year and matured yesterday and $350 million of 6.2 percent notes sold in 1998 and due today.
Williams Chief Executive Steven Malcolm, who did not return telephone calls for comment, pledged assets, including some of the company's 26,450 miles (42,560 kilometers) of interstate gas pipelines, as security for the loan, the people said.
“It certainly eases pressure for the rest of the year,” said Jake Dollarhide, chief operating officer at Frederic E. Russell Investment Management “It helps buy them some time.”
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969