A Brief History of Enron – With Enron Stock Chart

Enron traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ENE, and later under the symbol ENRN when it traded on the NASDAQ.

Shares of Enron stock reached their highest price on August 23rd, 2000 when shares reached a price of $90.75! The high share price gave Enron a market cap of about $70 billion, enough to make it the 7th largest publicly traded company.

At the time, the company was trading at a price to earnings multiple of over 70.

Enron Stock Chart

Enron Stock Chart showing price from 1993 to 2003.

However beginning in September 2000, the company’s stock began declining. Beginning around this time, analysts and investors began to scrutinize Enron’s financial statements. Specifically, how the company recognized revenue and its use of mark-to-market accounting.

Less than 2 years later, on January 11th, 2002, Enron’s stock price would be $0.12.

More On Enron’s Downfall

What caused this rapid decline in Enron’s stock chart?

For the full Enron story, visit a few of our This Day in History Pages:

April 17th, 2001 – Jeffery Skilling, Enron CEO, calls analyst Richard Grubman an asshole on a public earnings call

November 20th, 2001 – Enron’s stock falls 23% in one day, closes around $7 per share.

December 2nd, 2001 – Enron files for bankruptcy.

February 19th, 2004 – Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling is charged with fraud.

A few favorites for sources of information on the Enron scandal:

Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story
The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron

PBS interview with Jeff Skilling in 1991 – Where he has his no famous quote “We are the good guys, we are on the side of angels”

What Happened to Enron Stock?

Enron Corporation was founded in 1985 in Houston, Texas. The company began as a result of a merger between Houston Natural Gas and InterNorth, both small regional natural gas companies of south Texas. The merger was organized by Kenneth Lay, who was then CEO of Houston Natural Gas. Ken Lay became the CEO of the newly-formed Enron Corporation in 1985.

Early on, Enron focused on the transportation of natural gas through pipelines. While the company was not a star, it was profitable, had a decent dividend, and had a relatively steady stock price. Here’s an image of Enron’s financial statements in their 1998 annual report, showing the steady growth from the mid 1990s through 1998.

enron financial highlights from 1998 annual report showing revenue, income, dividends and share price.

From the early 1990s through 1998 the company’s stock did well, and outperformed the general market slightly.

But from 1998 to the company’s peak in 2000, the company began to show incredible growth in its finances. The image below is from Enron’s 2000 annual report:

This rapid growth caught Wall Street’s attention. Enron’s stock price increased just as fast, rising from the teens in 1998 to over $90 per share in 2000!

But of course, this growth was built almost entirely on fraudulent financial reporting.

The details of Enron’s downfall are fascinating. The stories of the deceit by Skilling, Lay, and Andrew Fastow (Enron’s CFO) are truly unbelievable. The books highlighted above do a better job than I ever can of giving the specific details for those interested.

Is Enron Stock Worth Anything Today?

Enron stock is worthless today. Shares of the company are no longer trading and any shares held are now worth $0.

Though, Enron collectables are quite valuable today. Authentic Enron share certificates for example, are routinely sold for hundreds of dollars on Ebay.

image showing enron stock certificates for sale on ebay for $300 or more

Did Enron Shareholders Receive Anything?

Investors who had purchased Enron stock between September 9th, 1997 and December 2nd, 2001 were eligible to participate in a class action lawsuit against major banks that worked with Enron. That lawsuit resulted in $7.2 billion in payments to former shareholders, that averaged to a payment of $6.79 per share.

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