Aquila completes purchase of ownership interest in Midlands Electricity

KANSAS CITY, Mo., May 10, 2002 — Aquila Inc. has completed the purchase from FirstEnergy Corp. of an interest entitling Aquila to one-half of the vote and board seats in, and approximately 80 percent of the value of, Avon Energy Partners Holding Company, the holding company for Midlands Electricity plc.

Midlands Electricity is the fourth-largest regional electricity company in the United Kingdom, serving 2.3 million network customers through its 38,000-mile electric distribution network. It also owns investments in other generating assets and energy businesses.

Aquila has acquired its interest in Avon Energy Partners Holdings for $264 million in consideration. It will operate Midlands Electricity under the new name Aquila Networks UK.

“We are pleased about this opportunity to add Midlands Electricity to our international network operations,” said Robert K. Green, president and chief executive officer of Aquila. “We expect this investment to be immediately accretive to Aquila’s earnings. This acquisition extends our balanced, regulated network and merchant growth strategy in the United Kingdom.”

Don Bacon is the new chief executive officer of Aquila Networks UK. He was previously chief executive of United Energy, an electric utility based in Melbourne, Australia, that is managed and 34 percent owned by Aquila. Prior to that he was chief executive officer of UnitedNetworks, 55 percent owned by Aquila, in New Zealand and chief executive officer of West Kootenay Power, an Aquila electric distribution network in Canada.

Midlands Electricity serves the city of Birmingham and parts of Staffordshire, Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Hereford and Worcester. For the year ended March 2001, Midlands Electricity sales totaled approximately $570 million and its earnings before interest and taxes totaled about $275 million.

FirstEnergy Corp, headquartered in Akron, Ohio, is a registered public utility holding company. On November 7, 2001, it merged with GPU, Inc., which owned Avon Energy Partners Holdings.

Based in Kansas City, Missouri, Aquila (formerly UtiliCorp United) is an international energy and risk management company. Aquila is one of the largest wholesalers of electricity and natural gas in North America, provides wholesale energy services in the United Kingdom and has a presence in Germany and Scandinavia. It also operates electricity and natural gas distribution networks in seven states and in Canada, New Zealand and Australia. At December 31, 2001, Aquila had total assets of $11.9 billion and 12-month sales of $40.4 billion. More information is available at www.aquila.com.


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