Columbia Offers to Buy National Propane
In an effort to grow its nonregulated business sector, Columbia
Energy Group's Columbia Propane Corp. recently announced a tender
offer to acquire National Propane Partners for $80.4 million. The
offer expires April 9. National Propane shareholders will vote in
In addition to paying $12 each for 6.7 million shares of
National Propane, Columbia offered to refinance $141 million of
National's debt. The combined propane company would serve a total
of 510,000 customers from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast to the
Southeast, Midwest, and western regions of the U.S. In 1998,
National Propane sold 144 million gallons of propane and Columbia
sold 66.5 million gallons.
Columbia has set a goal to have 30% of its operating revenue
generated from nonregulated activities by year-end 2001. Al Rankin,
a Columbia spokesman, said this offer demonstrates Columbia's
intent to achieve that goal. "This would be a good acquisition for
Columbia Propane. Propane is a big part of our nonregulated
businesses, and it has continued to grow and be profitable for us."
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