Otter Tail Power Co. on Wednesday said that it will make a play to buy the South Dakota-based utility operations of NorthWestern Corp., which filed for bankruptcy in September 2003 (see Daily GPI, Sept. 17, 2003).

Otter Tail Power has retained Merrill Lynch as its financial advisor to negotiate with NorthWestern’s unsecured creditors.

The South Dakota-based operations of NorthWestern provide services to customers in South Dakota and Nebraska, and includes part ownership of three power plants at sites in North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa. Otter Tail Power is a co-owner with NorthWestern in the North Dakota and South Dakota plants. It also operates both plants.

Otter Tail Power currently serves an approximate 6,000-square-mile territory in South Dakota adjacent to NorthWestern’s South Dakota distribution territory.

The offer will not include NorthWestern’s Montana operations.

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