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Industry Briefs

Industry Briefs

NiSource said it filed the necessary information under the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 with the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice regarding its tender offer for all of Columbia Energy Group's common shares. CEO Gary Neale said it "sends a serious message to Columbia that we are committed to completing this transaction and that we are confident in our ability to secure the necessary regulatory approvals. We have said throughout that we believe the regulatory approval process can be completed within six to nine months if we work together. HSR clearance is an important first step, and one that confirms our commitment to move forward on all fronts of this transaction." NiSource is offering $68/share for Columbia stock. Columbia's board has said the company is not for sale and is fighting the hostile takeover attempt (See Daily GPI July 16, July 15, June 25, June 11 and June 8).

Avista Corp. of Spokane, WA, won a contract to provide training services to Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), which serves electricity to 500,000 commercial and residential customers in a 900-square-mile area in Sacramento and Placer Counties. Avista Corp.'s Resource Management Services Program assists school districts, colleges, and multi-site facilities in reducing overall resource costs by developing behavioral and retrofit measures for electric, natural gas, other fuel sources, water, sewer and solid waste. Avista has provided these services to customers for more than four years in Washington and Idaho, helping client school districts and universities save more than $1.5 million. Avista will provide training to SMUD and three school districts in the Sacramento region as they begin their own resource conservation management program. Avista will provide two days of training for each district.

Devon Energy Corp. of Oklahoma City, OK, and Houston-based PennzEnergy Co. filed definitive proxy materials with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the merger of the two companies. The merger plans and basic terms were announced on May 20 (See Daily GPI May 21, 1999). Distribution to shareholders of the proxy materials will begin July 16. On Aug. 17 Devon and PennzEnergy will each hold a special meeting of shareholders to vote on the merger. The deal is expected to be completed shortly thereafter. Upon completion of the merger, Devon will rank in the top 10 of all US-based independent oil and gas producers in terms of market capitalization, total proved reserves and annual production. The merger will create an international oil and gas company with an equity market capitalization of about $2.6 billion and enterprise value of about $4.7 billion.

New Energy Ventures, Inc. unveiled a new logo and a new name, NewEnergy Inc. The new logo, an array of eccentric circles that coalesce into an ordered structure, "symbolizes NewEnergy's promise to customers that it will bring order out of chaos in the competitive electric marketplace," said CEO Michael R. Peevey.

Los Angeles-based New Energy Ventures was formed in 1995 to serve customers in every state where a competitive energy market is emerging. The company has contracts to provide more than 2,500 MW of electricity to 600-700 customers (more than 1,000 commercial and industrial electric meters). NEV has 250 employees at nine existing offices. It is 50% owned by Unisource Energy Corp., and 50% percent owned by New Energy Holdings, LLC, (which is owned by the senior officers of New Energy Ventures). The company was bought by Arlington, VA-based AES Corp. earlier this year for $90 million.

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