DealZone

“What business is that of yours, friendo?”

April 25, 2008

14_bardemjavier.jpg The last thing most companies want is to associate themselves with is a psychopathic killer.

That goes double for nuclear power producers, so Entergy Corp’s “No Country for Old Men” themed analyst meeting on Friday came as quite a surprise.

The presentation of the company’s first-quarter earnings was built around references to the Oscar-winning movie, with the introduction and forward looking statements disclaimer read out in movie trailer fashion, and the slides strewn with quotes from the movie’s characters.

“It’s a movie about the choices that we make, the rules that we follow in life, the consequences of those choices and those rules and being accountable for the choices that we make for the rest of our lives,” said Chief Executive Wayne Leonard, on a webcast.

[Editor's note: We thought it was about nihilism and the banality of evil.]

“When I came to Entergy in 1998, we’d made some bad choices, one of the questions was how long are we going to have to live and be accountable for the choices that were made in the past,” Leonard added.

It’s not like Entergy found a satchel filled with $2 million in drug money and was hunted down by a remorseless killer with a Prince Valiant haircut. But its foreign investments haven’t turned out so well. The company has since sold its assets overseas and has proposed a spin-off of its non-utility nuclear assets in a bid to capitalize on rising power prices.

The spin-off is facing more challenges due to the tight credit markets and opposition from New York’s Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. During the presentation, Entergy listed a range of options it might adopt in order to arrange the financing required for the spin-off.

Looks like the movie’s tagline rings true — “There Are No Clean Getaways.”

(Click here to view the presentation)

Photo: Richard Foreman, courtesy of Miramax Films

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