Oneok's proposed merger with Southwest Gas received a big shot in the
arm last week, as the Nevada Public Utilities Commission (PUCN) unanimously
approved the deal two months ahead of schedule. Although approval is still
needed from Arizona and California regulators as well as Southwest Gas
shareholders, both companies are confident the merger will be completed
in the previously announced fourth quarter 1999 timeframe.
"Nevada's utility regulators have carefully scrutinized our merger
proposal and determined that it serves the public interest," said
Michael Maffie, CEO of Southwest Gas. "This is the first of three
state utility regulatory approvals that we must obtain before we can complete
the combination of our two companies. We expect that Nevada's endorsement
of our merger will set the tone for regulatory consideration by the Arizona
Corporations Commission (ACC) and California Public Utilities Commission."
The merger already has been cleared by the SEC.
Oneok and Southwest first agreed to a deal last December. It will be
one of the nation's largest gas distribution companies, serving 2.6 million
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