24 July 2003 – Aquila, Inc. announced today that it has completed the sale of its Australian energy investments to a consortium representing Alinta Limited, AMP Henderson and their affiliates for $629m.
After fees, expenses and taxes, Aquila has received approximately $477m, or about $32m higher than earlier estimates. The majority of this increase is attributable to a stronger Australian dollar, which increased U.S. dollar proceeds.
The net proceeds will be used to repay Aquila’s obligations under its recent 364-day secured loan and for other actions to strengthen the company’s balance sheet.
Aquila’s investments in Australia included a 34 percent investment in United Energy Limited. Aquila purchased its interest in UEL in 1995, the first electric distribution system to be privatized by the State of Victoria.
Prior to the sale Aquila also owned a significant minority interest in Alinta, a natural gas distributor and operator of a retail gas business in the state of Western Australia, and an interest in Multinet Gas, a gas distribution business in Victoria.
The sale of the company’s Australian energy investments represents yet another step the company has taken in its previously announced strategy to focus on its core domestic natural gas and electric utilities in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Michigan.