DALLAS, Texas, Nov. 4, 2002 — Atmos Energy Corp. said it received approval from the Mississippi Public Service Commission to acquire Mississippi Valley Gas Company, the state’s largest natural gas utility.
The commission’s unanimous decision was based on a stipulated agreement negotiated between Atmos Energy and the Mississippi Public Utilities Staff. The transaction previously had received federal regulatory approvals and approvals from six other state utility commissions.
Atmos Energy will acquire privately held Mississippi Valley Gas for $75 million cash and $75 million of Atmos Energy Corporation common stock. It also will repay approximately $45 million of Mississippi Valley Gas’ long-term debt.
Atmos Energy said it expects to close the transaction by December 1, 2002, and expects the acquired operations to be slightly accretive to fiscal 2003 earnings, excluding any one-time charges related to the acquisition.
“We are gratified to receive the Mississippi Public Service Commission’s order that allows us to complete our acquisition of Mississippi Valley Gas,” said Robert W. Best, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Atmos Energy Corporation.
“The Mississippi Public Utilities Staff has been extremely diligent in reviewing all aspects of the transaction and has worked for months with our acquisition team to reach a fair and equitable stipulation and agreement.”
Best said that Atmos Energy looks forward to entering the Mississippi market, the 12th state in which Atmos Energy will serve natural gas utility customers.
“Mississippi Valley Gas will fit well into Atmos Energy’s system,” Best said. “We are enhancing our position in the Southeastern United States and are gaining the advantages of a strong operating utility with its own gas-storage facilities and the goodwill from Mississippi Valley Gas’ excellent customer service.
“Mississippi Valley Gas will maintain its headquarters in Jackson and will operate as a separate Atmos Energy business unit,” he said. “It will continue to provide its customers with the same reliable energy supplies and high-quality service they have come to expect. Mississippi Valley Gas will benefit from Atmos Energy’s greater economies of scale and advanced technologies to help keep its operating costs low. It also will gain more resources for maintaining and expanding its system to serve Mississippi’s economy.”
Mississippi Valley Gas serves approximately 260,000 Mississippi customers in 144 communities throughout 36 counties. Residential customers account for approximately 90 percent of its customer base and for 50 percent of its revenues. Its proposed acquisition by Atmos Energy was announced September 24, 2001.
Atmos Energy Corporation, headquartered in Dallas, is one of the largest pure natural gas distributors in the United States. Atmos Energy’s utility operations serve more than 860 small and medium-size communities in 11 states from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the East to the Rocky Mountains in the West.
After acquiring Mississippi Valley Gas, Atmos Energy will serve approximately 1.7 million gas utility customers. Its nonutility operations, organized under Atmos Energy Holdings, operate in 18 states. They provide natural gas marketing and procurement services to industrial, commercial and municipal customers, manage company-owned natural gas storage and pipeline assets, construct small electric generating plants for industrial and municipal customers, and hold an equity interest in Heritage Propane Partners, L.P., the fourth-largest U.S. propane marketer. For more information, visit atmosenergy.com.