KANSAS CITY, Mo., Aug 7, 2002 — Aquila, Inc. announced recently that it would seek a buyer for its 79.9 percent of the shares of Avon Energy Partners Holding Company, the holding company for Midlands Electricity plc, operating as Aquila Networks in the United Kingdom.
Aquila acquired majority interest in Avon Energy Partners Holding Company from FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) in May and has been managing Midlands since that time. FirstEnergy, owner of the remaining 20.1 percent interest in Avon Energy Partners Holding Company, already has announced its intent to sell its position in the utility.
“Since announcing our intent to sell $1 billion in assets, we’ve had inquiries related to our entire asset portfolio. In the case of Midlands Electricity, we’ve received a sufficient number of serious inquiries that have led us to initiate a bid process,” said Robert K. Green, president and chief executive officer of Aquila.
“To date we have made significant progress in our efforts to sell $1 billion in assets. The sale of Midlands would take Aquila well beyond our $1 billion target.”
The company expects the bidding process for Midlands to be concluded in October, with a decision on the bids by mid-October.
Midlands Electricity serves 2.3 million customers in the city of Birmingham and parts of Staffordshire, Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Hereford and Worcester. For the year ended March 2001, Midlands Electricity sales totaled approximately $570 million and its earnings before interest and taxes totaled about $275 million.
Based in Kansas City, Missouri, Aquila operates electricity and natural gas distribution networks serving more than six million customers in seven states and in Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. The company also owns and operates power generation and mid-stream natural gas assets. At March 31, 2002, Aquila had total assets of $12.3 billion. More information is available at www.aquila.com.