Laclede Gas Co. has moved to separate its regulated andunregulated entities in an effort to give the unregulated arm ofthe natural gas distributor more flexibility and financing options.The St. Louis company’s board of directors voted for authorizationfrom the Securities and Exchange Commission to reorganize.

Under the plan, Laclede Gas would become a subsidiary of TheLaclede Group Inc., but would continue to operate as a regulatednatural gas distribution utility. Existing corporate subsidiariesof Laclede Gas, which include Laclede Energy Resources Inc.,Laclede Venture Corp., Laclede Development Co., Laclede InvestmentCorp., Laclede Gas Family Services Inc. and Laclede Pipeline Co.,would become subsidiaries of the new holding company.

“Our goal is to better serve the needs of our customers and ourshareholders,” said CEO Douglas H. Yaeger. “We plan to do this bycontinuing to improve the reliable natural gas service provided byour regulated core utility business while further developing ourpresence in unregulated arenas with which we are now familiar andhave some expertise.”

Yaeger said that by creating a corporate structure that”thoroughly separates” the company’s traditional utility functionsfrom its unregulated business activities, it will allow for”clearly defined utility operations that reinforce and protect thefinancial strength of the regulated utility.” The separation alsowill give the unregulated subsidiaries more financial andoperational flexibility to look for new business opportunities, hesaid.

Besides the SEC, Laclede also has to obtain shareholderapproval. The gas distributor now serves more than 633,000customers in eastern Missouri.

©Copyright 2000 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. Thepreceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, inwhole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent ofIntelligence Press, Inc.