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Industry News

UtiliCorp May Sell Wires and Pipes Construction Unit

LCG, Nov. 17, 2000--UtiliCorp United Inc. said yesterday that it might sell its construction business that builds and maintains the company's electric power and natural gas transmission systems, if it can find a bidder.

Any sale would carry with it a requirement that the new owner continue to support UtiliCorp's construction and maintenance programs in the seven states where it operates transmission facilities.

George Minter, a UtiliCorp spokesman, said "Globally, we're seeing a lot of this type of unbundling. We've made similar moves internationally, in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. We're trying to use what we learned in those transactions to maximize our value in the U.S."

Jim Miller, a senior vice president of UtiliCorp and chief executive of its U.S. utility unit, said it was possible the value of the company's parts was greater than the value of the sum of those parts. He also said any deal would protect the interests of customers and employees.

UtiliCorp employs about 900 people in its transmission systems in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska.

"We anticipate bids from other utilities with strategies focused on network construction andmaintenance, and from firms already specializing in this segment to serve the burgeoning demand forthe construction of fiber-optic networks and energy infrastructure," Miller said in a statement.

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