Washington Water Power Co., which soon will change its name to Avista Corp., is conducting a corporate optimization study that could result in some job cuts and other organizational changes next month.
WWP spokesman Pat Lynch says the changes could include the elimination of as many as 25 positions here and the outsourcing of certain functions. He adds, however, that no decisions have been made yet to take those actions, nor will any decisions be made until mid-January.
Lynch emphasizes that any employee whose job would be eliminated will be given the opportunity to apply for other jobs within the company, and there are positions open, he says.
One of the main goals of the optimization study is to shift some staff functions currently at the corporate level to the various WWP business lines, such as Avista Energy and Avista Advantage, and to eliminate any duplication of positions, Lynch says.
This is a complete review process to make sure that our current and future operations budgets fit with our earnings targets, Lynch says. We need to manage operational costs at the lowest possible levels in order to survive in todays marketplace.
WWP has announced a number of changes this year, including the hiring of a new chairman and CEO, a planned name change, and a reduction in its stock dividends.
In July, T.M. Tom Matthews, who had been president of NGC Corp., of Houston, succeeded Paul Redmond, who retired after having worked for WWP for 33 years, 13 of which were spent as its chairman and CEO.
A month later, WWP announced it would be changing its name to Avista Corp., effective Jan. 1, and that WWP would become the utility division of Avista.
At that same time, the company said it was cutting its annual common stock dividend by 61 percent, from $1.24 a share to 48 cents a share, effective with the payment of the dividend expected Dec. 15.
The move was necessary to free up cash for future growth, Matthews said. Common shareholders were allowed to trade their common shares for an equal number of depository shares representing new-issue preferred stock, which would retain the higher dividend level for three more years.
A final count compiled by the Bank of New York, the companys exchange agent and depositary for the new-issue preferred stock, showed that 15,400,359 common shares, or 27.5 percent of the companys common shares, were validly tendered and not withdrawn in the exchange offer.
WWPs common stock will be traded as Avista Corp. common stock, under the ticker symbol AVA, for the first time starting Monday, Jan. 4.
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