Western Australia's AlintaGas
Business Editors & Energy Writers
KANSAS CITY, Mo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 31, 2000--UtiliCorp United
(NYSE:UCU) today announced that its $US189 million joint bid with
United Energy Limited for 45 percent of AlintaGas, a gas distribution
utility in Western Australia, has been accepted by the state's
The transaction is expected to close by the end of October.
AlintaGas is based in Perth, Australia, and serves 400,000
customers. It is Western Australia's principal gas distributor. The
remaining 55 percent of the company will be offered to the public in
Australia in a share float scheduled for September.
"We are extremely pleased to again be able to expand our interests
in Australia," said Robert K. Green, president and chief operating
officer of UtiliCorp and chairman of United Energy. "AlintaGas is a
well-positioned business and complements our existing Australian
business very well. We expect this transaction to be slightly
accretive to UtiliCorp earnings in its first year of operations."
UtiliCorp entered the Australian energy market in 1995 as a member
of the partnership that acquired United Energy from the state of
Victoria. It currently owns 34 percent of United Energy, which has
560,000 customers. It also holds a 50 percent economic interest in
Multinet Gas, a gas distribution company with 520,000 customers that
is managed by United Energy. Ue Comm, owned by United Energy, provides
fiber-optic networks in three Australian cities for broadband
Based in Kansas City, UtiliCorp United is an international
electric and gas company with energy customers and operations across
the U.S. and in Canada, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Germany,
Spain, New Zealand and Australia. At March 31, 2000, UtiliCorp had
total assets of $US7.5 billion and 12-month sales of $US19.6 billion.
Additional information is available at www.utilicorp.com.
The full text of a press release issued by United Energy earlier
today in Australia follows (all dollar amounts expressed in Australian
31 July 2000
UtiliCorp & United Energy Win Bid for AlintaGas
UtiliCorp United and United Energy Limited are pleased to announce
that their consortium has been successful in bidding for the
45 percent cornerstone shareholding in the Western Australian gas
The Western Australian State Government today named the
UtiliCorp-United Energy consortium as the successful cornerstone
investor, with a bid price of $319.5 million.
The remaining 55 percent of the AlintaGas equity is intended to
be sold through a public float. The Government has advised it plans to
list the Company on the Australian Stock Exchange in October 2000.
UtiliCorp Senior Vice-President, Corporate Development, Paul
Perkins, said the group was delighted to have the opportunity to
invest in this outstanding utility asset.
"AlintaGas is a well-run business positioned in one of the most
exciting energy regions in the world," said Mr Perkins.
"This is an exciting opportunity for UtiliCorp and our partner
United Energy. Our decision to make this long-term investment
highlights our commitment to the Australasian market which now
represents 11 percent of our total assets.
"Our investment in AlintaGas is an important addition to our
portfolio of energy assets in the region."
United Energy Chief Executive Officer Don Bacon said the AlintaGas
investment was a perfect fit and added a new geographic dimension to
the regulated assets of United Energy and UtiliCorp in Australia.
"From what we've seen, AlintaGas is a business in excellent shape
which is well positioned to take advantage of many new opportunities,"
said Mr. Bacon.
"AlintaGas has a pre-eminent position in the Western Australian
market, and we look forward to assisting AlintaGas grow its business
and broaden its range of activities."
United Energy and UtiliCorp are equal partners in the consortium.
United Energy is one of Australia's fastest-growing energy
companies. Its core business is the distribution of electricity to
550,000 connections in Melbourne's south, east and the Mornington
Peninsula and the management of 590,000 gas connections in Melbourne's
north and east.
United Energy has a 25% shareholding in Pulse Energy, a retail
company which sells energy to more than one million customers in
EdgeCap, a United Energy subsidiary, is an energy merchant
business that buys and sells electricity in the wholesale market,
trades related commodities, and sells risk management products.
United Energy also offers energy retailers a range of back office
services including call centre, metering, billing and account
collection functions. United Energy's telecommunications business has
developed fibre optic networks in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
United Energy is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and has more
than 52,000 predominantly Australian shareholders. AMP and UtiliCorp
own 57.8% of United Energy.
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