UtiliCorp, United Energy win bid for Perth firm

UtiliCorp United Corp., Kansas City, Mo., reported its $189 million joint bid with United Energy Ltd. for 45% of AlintaGas, a gas distribution utility in western Australia, has been accepted by the state's government. The transaction is expected to close by the end of October.


UtiliCorp United Corp., Kansas City, Mo., reported its $189 million joint bid with United Energy Ltd. for 45% of AlintaGas, a gas distribution utility in western Australia, has been accepted by the state's government.

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% of the company will be offered to the public in Australia in a share float scheduled for September. United Energy said the government has advised it plans to list the company on the Australian Stock Exchange in October 2000.

"We are extremely pleased to again be able to expand our interests in Australia," said Robert K. Green, UtiliCorp president and chairman of United Energy. "AlintaGas is a well-positioned business and complements our existing Australian business very well." He said the transaction is expected to add slightly to earnings/share in its first year of operation.

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% of United Energy, which has 560,000 customers. It also holds a 50% economic interest in Multinet Gas, a gas distribution company with 520,000 customers that is managed by United Energy.

United Energy has a 25% shareholding in Pulse Energy, a retail company which sells energy to more than 1 million customers in Victoria. 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.

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