Atmos Energy announced plans to buy the remaining 55% share ofWoodward Marketing that it does not already own. It plans to pay$33 million in stock for the Houston-based marketer.

The acquisition is expected to add $0.04 – $0.06/share to Atmos’consolidated earnings during the first full year of completeownership. The purchase will not require shareholder approval butwill require regulatory approval in six of the 13 states in whichAtmos operates. J. D. Woodward, president of Woodward Marketing,will become senior vice president of non-utility operations forAtmos upon completion of the transaction.

“Woodward Marketing LLC has a track record of strong financialgrowth accompanied by some of the highest customer satisfactionratings in the industry under the leadership of J. D. Woodward andJim Kifer,” said Atmos Chairman Robert W. Best. “The acquisition ofthe remaining interest in Woodward Marketing will increase theprofitability, scale and scope of Atmos’ non-utility operations.”

Woodward serves gas utility, municipal, and industrial customersprimarily in the Southeast, Midwest and in California. Atmosacquired its 45% interest in the company as part of the acquisitionof United Cities Gas in 1997. Since then, Woodward’s realizedpretax income has increased by more than 20% each year, the companysaid. For the nine months ended June 30, Woodward’s pretax realizedincome increased about 44% compared to the nine months ended June30, 1999.

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