From staff reports
Laclede Group Inc., based in St. Louis, announced plans Monday to acquire Missouri Gas Energy — which provides natural gas to Joplin, Kansas City and many other companies in Missouri. It also announced plans to buy New England Gas Co. in Massachusetts.
Missouri Gas Energy has 500,000 customers in the state; New England Gas has about 50,000 customers.
Both utilities are owned by Southern Union Co., which was acquired last year by Energy Transfer Equity.
Laclede is paying more than $1 billion for the two companies. MGE and New England Gas had combined revenues of approximately $517 million for the twelve months ended Sept. 30, and the deal is expected to close next summer, Laclede officials said in a statement.
Suzanne Sitherwood, president and chief executive officer of Laclede, said in a statement: “MGE and NEG will effectively double our size by increasing our utility customer base from approximately 630,000 to nearly 1.2 million in an industry and a state in which we have over 150 years’ experience.”
Laclede officials also said that with this transaction that they will be serving Missouri's two largest metropolitan areas.
“The company knows MGE's leadership well and has a constructive working relationship with Missouri regulators,” Laclede officials said in announcing the purchase.
The deal requires approval from the Missouri Public Service Commission and the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. No shareholder approval is required.
Attempts to reach Laclede Group officials to find out what the deal will mean for MGE customers were unsuccessful Monday evening. Calls to MGE were referred to Laclede.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.