TransCanada to sell Netherlands assets to French firm

TransCanada PipeLines Ltd., Calgary, has agreed to sell its Netherlands assets to GDF International SA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gaz de France, for 371 million euros ($332.9 million). The sale will have an effective date of July 1, 2000. The divestiture is part of TransCanada's business refocusing program announced in 1999 (OGJ, Dec. 20, 1999, p. 32).

TransCanada said it expects to receive 38 million euros in cash distribution relating to first half 2000 activity of the assets. But it also will repay a loan of 122.5 million euros associated with the original purchase and operations of the assets.

The sale includes all of the outstanding shares of two TransCanada subsidiaries: TransCanada International (Europe) Ltd., and TransCanada International Petroleum (UK) Ltd. These companies indirectly control TransCanada's interests in seven offshore natural gas producing licenses, and its 38.57% interest in both an offshore natural gas pipeline system and a natural gas treatment plant in the Dutch sector of the North Sea.

Closure of the transaction is expected by the end of this month, pending necessary consents and approvals. Schroder Salomon Smith Barney and Waterous International advised TransCanada on the sale.

"We are pleased with the proceeds to be realized from this sale, which are in line with our expectations,'' said Doug Baldwin, TransCanada's president and chief executive. "Since last December, TransCanada has sold or has agreements to sell approximately $2.8 billion of noncore assets."

TransCanada also intends to sell the rest of its midstream (natural gas liquids extraction and gas gathering and processing) assets; Cancarb Ltd. (thermal carbon black manufacturing business and associated power plant); the company's interest in the Express System, a 1,715-mile pipeline network that transports oil from Hardisty, Alta., to Casper, Wyo.; and several assets in Latin America.

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