The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Business

July 17, 2013

Missouri regulators approve Laclede’s acquisition of MGE

— The Missouri Public Service Commission announced today that it has unanimously approved an agreement allowing Laclede Gas Co. to buy the natural gas operations of Missouri Gas Energy.

MGE serves customers and businesses in Joplin, Kansas City and elsewhere in western Missouri.

Laclede, based in St. Louis, has stated that it intends to own and operate two divisions in Missouri — the MGE division and the Laclede division.

Under the agreement with regulators, Laclede will be under a general rate case moratorium and will not file a general rate case for its Laclede division prior to Oct. 1, 2015, unless there is a “significant unusual event that has a major impact on any of its Missouri service territories.”

However, Laclede will be permitted to file a general rate case for its MGE division  no later than Sept. 18. If Laclede does not file a general rate case for its MGE division by then, Laclede will not file a rate case prior to Oct. 1, 2015.

Under the agreement, any acquisition premium — the total purchase price above net book value — that Laclede pays for MGE cannot be recovered in retail distribution charges.

Laclede Group also is buying New England Gas Co. in Massachusetts. Both it and MGE are owned by Southern Union Co., which was acquired last year by Energy Transfer Equity.

MGE has 500,000 customers in the state; NEG has about 50,000 customers.

Laclede agreed to pay more than $1 billion for the two companies.

MGE and NEG had combined revenues of $517 million for the twelve months ended Sept. 30.

The acquisition will effectively double the size of Laclede, Suzanne Sitherwood, president and chief executive officer of Laclede, said in a statement when the deal was announced last December.

While approval is required by state regulators, no shareholder approval is needed.

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