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PG&E Fire Victims Trust liquidates $500M in stock

A construction worker holds a stop sign in front of a blue PG&E service vehicle in a burned area.

PG&E crews work to restore utility services in Paradise, California on February 01, 2019. Photo: credit Josh Edelson / AFP via Getty Images

Pacific Gas & Electric's Fire Victims Trust liquidated nearly $517 million worth of PG&E stock Thursday, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The embattled California utility provider's stock is up nearly 25% YTD, giving the Trust access to additional funds via stock grants to pay out fire victims' claims.

Driving the news: The Trust, which is overseen by Cathy Yanni and has paid out roughly $5 billion worth of claims to date, sold off roughly 10% of its entire PG&E stock holding in the transaction.

  • It sold 35 million shares at $14.77 Thursday. The stock price rose to $15.25 by close of business Friday.
  • The Trust retains more than 307 million shares in PG&E.
  • The Trust previously reported the sale via press release on October 5 but completed the transaction on Thursday, per SEC documentation filed Friday.

Flashback: The Fire Victims Trust was established during PG&E's Chapter 11 restructuring in 2020. It was established to ensure the company would continue paying wildfire victims with claims against it separate from its bankruptcy. The Trust was funded with a combination of cash payments and stock grants.

  • It pays claims from victims of the 2015 Butte Fire, the 2017 North Bay Fires and the 2018 Camp Fire to the tune of $13.5 billion. It has paid out roughly a third of the total ordered.
  • Victims have taken the Trust to court to force more transparency on how it is managing spending amid delays in claims' payments to victims.
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