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DTE Goes Shopping for A Supplier, Likes MCN

DTE Goes Shopping for A Supplier, Likes MCN

DTE Energy, Detroit Edison's parent company, said last week it is in the market to acquire a natural gas supplier. The company is in exploratory stages right now but hopes to have some kind of agreement by the end of this year, a DTE official said at the company's annual meeting.

"Natural gas is becoming the fuel supply of choice," said Anthony Early, CEO of DTE. "To be a successful player, we're going to have to get more involved in the gas business. Right now, we're having to buy gas from other companies and then bid against them on projects."

One possibility for DTE is a takeover of MCN's MichCon gas utility. "They are very attractive," Early said. "But two people have to be interested." MCN officials would not comment.

Along with the merger search, DTE reported Wednesday a 10% higher first quarter net income of $115 million on revenues of $1.02 billion, which grew 8.4%. Fully diluted earnings per share were $0.79 a share compared to $0.72 in 1Q98. DTE's main subsidiary, Detroit Edison, serves more than 2 million customers in southeastern Michigan.

John Norris

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