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Enron to Trade Over the Counter; Andersen Fires Top Auditor

The bankrupt energy company hits the pink sheets after the NYSE moves to delist it.

Updated from 1:25 p.m. EST

The common shares of bankrupt

Enron

will now trade over the counter under the symbol ENRNQ, the company announced Tuesday.

The

New York Stock Exchange said Tuesday that trading in Enron's common stock and other listed securities is being suspended pending a delisting action to be filed with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

.

Shares of Enron, which were halted at 67 cents on Jan. 10 on the NYSE, were last quoted at 50 cents in the over-the-counter market. The company announced Tuesday that the National Quotation Bureau LLC "Pink Sheets" will provide the quotation service.

The NYSE halted trading in Enron on Friday while awaiting the outcome of an auction of the company's wholesale trading business. The exchange said it would immediately suspend trading in Enron's common stock, the 7% exchangeable notes due July 31, 2002, and the $10.50 cumulative second preferred convertible stock.

Derivative securities of Enron Capital Trust I, Enron Capital Trust II, Enron Capital Resources LP and Enron Capital LLC will be suspended pending an SEC application to delist all the securities from the Big Board. Prior to the delisting, Enron officials have an opportunity to appeal the NYSE's decision.

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The NYSE said uncertainties about Enron's fate prompted the decision. "The Exchange notes that today's action is being taken due to the expected protracted nature of the Company's bankruptcy process and the uncertainty at this time as to the timing and outcome of this process as well as the ultimate effect on the Company's common shareholders," the NYSE said in a statement announcing the action.

In addition, the exchange said Enron's common stock no longer meets the criteria to remain listed on the exchange. "

Enron has recently fallen below the NYSE's continued listing criteria relating to: average closing price of a security less than $1.00 over a consecutive 30 trading-day period," the statement noted. "

The Exchange has determined that the Company's securities are no longer suitable for trading on the NYSE."

Enron filed for bankruptcy protection in early December. Earlier Tuesday, the company announced its intentions to sell its core wholesale trading business to

UBS AG

(UBS) - Get Report

.

Andersen Takes Action

Separately, Arthur Andersen, the energy trader's audit firm, dismissed the lead partner on the Enron audit and placed three other partners on administrative leave. The accounting firm said the actions were based on preliminary facts relating to its probe into the

disposal of documents related to Enron's audit.

Andersen is also installing new management at its Houston office after stripping responsibilities from four partners based in the office. Andersen also promised to dismiss or discipline anyone else at the firm who wrongfully disposed of documents and files related to Enron.