Duke Energy will exit merchant finance business

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 7, 2003 — Duke Energy announced that it will exit the merchant finance business at its wholly owned subsidiary, Duke Capital Partners, LLC.

The company expects to boost cash flows in 2003 and 2004 as Duke Capital Partners’ portfolio of approximately $350 million is sold or matures.

Approximately $50 million in portfolio assets has already been monetized this year. Duke Energy expects that approximately 50 percent of the remaining portfolio will either mature or be sold before the end of 2003, with the remainder being closed out during the first six months of 2004.

Duke Capital Partners provided debt and equity capital and financial advisory services to businesses in the North American energy industry. It was formed in 2000 and had 30 employees at offices in Charlotte and Houston.

“Duke Capital Partners built a sound portfolio of quality assets in its three years of operations,” said Richard J. Osborne, executive vice president and chief risk officer. “However, the energy industry has changed tremendously in that time, and the prospects for Duke Capital Partners were severely limited by Duke Energy’s decision to focus its more limited capital investments on its traditional business segments.”

Osborne is responsible for the Duke Ventures business group, which includes Duke Capital Partners and Crescent Resources, the company’s real estate development business.

Earlier this year Duke Energy announced that its financial plan included realizing proceeds of $600 million in 2003 from the sale of non-strategic assets. Today’s announcement of proceeds from the closure of Duke Capital Partners follows earlier announcements of asset sales worth more than $250 million in proceeds this year.

Duke Energy is a diversified multinational energy company with an integrated network of energy assets and expertise. The company manages a dynamic portfolio of natural gas and electric supply, delivery and trading businesses. Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.

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