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Industry Briefs

Industry Briefs

Shareholders of New Century Energies and Northern States Power Co. approved the merger of the two companies yesterday. The new company will be named Xcel Energy Inc. At separate special shareholder meetings held today in Denver and Minneapolis, more than 83% of the voting shares of both NCE and NSP voted in favor of the merger. "This transaction will be accretive immediately, will provide a balanced platform for growth, and will provide NCE and NSP customers with continued low-cost, reliable energy," said NCE President Wayne Brunetti, who will become CEO of Xcel Energy. NCE said 93% of its shareholders representing 78% of its overall shares approved the deal, and 83% of NSP's shareholders representing 62% of its shares okayed the transaction. The merger, announced on March 25, still requires state and federal regulatory approval. The approval process is expected to be completed in nine to 15 months. Under terms of the merger agreement, holders of NCE stock will receive 1.55 shares of stock in Xcel Energy for each of their NCE shares. Each share of NSP stock will become one share of Xcel Energy.

Coastal announced that it is increasing its 1999 capital budget for exploration and production to $880 million from $590 million. "The $290 million increase for Coastal Oil & Gas Corporation is a direct result of recent strength in natural gas prices," said Chairman David A. Arledge. About $190 million of the increase is earmarked for acquisitions and $100 million is for additional drilling and well workover programs. "Coastal is minimizing risk in increasing its reserve base and production rates through acquisitions," Arledge said. "In the meantime, drilling costs have remained at very reasonable levels. This increase in capital expenditures demonstrates Coastal's ability to respond quickly to market changes."

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