RWE, Europe's largest electricity trader, is ready to pounce on the battered US energy trading market, seeking to exploit the collapse of Enron Corp. and the sham trades of its rivals.
The German company should find it easier to lure customers and staff amid falling confidence in rivals including Reliant Resources Inc. and Aquila Inc., an executive said. RWE plans to boost its US trading volume sevenfold through to 2006 and wants to buy power plants to back up its trading.
“We're like a crocodile in the water waiting for the prey to swim by,” said RWE Trading GmbH Chief Executive Officer Hans- Dieter Erfkemper in an interview at the company's trading floor in Essen, Germany. “Our biggest competitive advantages are our credit rating and our spotless trading record.”
The US wholesale electricity market, which last year doubled in size to $446 billion, is shrinking for the first time since the industry opened to competition in the mid-1990s. Companies have become wary of trading partners' ability to pay and are demanding higher collateral.