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Industry News

Duke to Acquire Canada's Westcoast Energy

LCG, Sept. 21, 2001--Duke Energy Corp., on of the largest U.S. utilities, said yesterday it would acquire Canada's Westcoast Energy Inc. for about $3.5 billion.

Westcoast operates natural gas gathering, processing, storage and transmission facilities in Canada, and its acquisition will significantly expand Duke's North American gas business.

"This acquisition greatly enhances the balance and diversity of our portfolio of energy assets and provides us with additional growth opportunities to serve North America's expanding energy needs," Richard Priory, Duke's chief executive, said in a company statement announcing the deal.

Later, in a telephone news conference after the deal was announced, Priory said "We see the tremendous need to expand the natural gas infrastructure across North America. This combination will position ourselves to take a lead role to develop that infrastructure."

Duke said the transaction is expected to close early next year and should add to earnings immediately. Michael Phelps, chairman and chief executive officer of Westcoast, will become a member of Duke board of directors.

"The Westcoast Energy board of directors fully supports this combination and will recommend it to shareholders," said Phelps. "The bid represents a significant premium to our recent share price at a time when Westcoast Energy shares are trading at record highs, and it offers current Westcoast shareholders an opportunity to participate in the future growth prospects of Duke Energy, a leading multinational energy powerhouse."

Under terms of the deal, Duke will pay for all of the outstanding shares of Westcoast with a combination of stock and cash.

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