TOPEKA, Kan., Jan. 12, 2004 — Westar Energy, Inc. announced the repayment of $279.7 million of its bank term loan during the fourth quarter 2003. Net proceeds from the November 2003 sale of the company’s remaining ONEOK investment and cash from operations were used to reduce the term loan balance to approximately $114 million.
Westar Energy has also updated the estimated range for an equity issuance in 2004. The company recently announced a definitive agreement to sell its approximately 88 percent equity interest in Protection One, Inc. and to transfer its rights and obligations as the lender under Protection One’s senior credit facility.
As a result of that transaction, which is expected to close in the first quarter 2004, the expected range for the proposed equity issuance is $75 million to $250 million and is expected to occur in 2004. A possible equity issuance was included as the last step of the company’s restructuring plan approved by the Kansas Corporation Commission in July 2003.
At a minimum, such an equity issuance is designed to meet the company’s target of at least a 40 percent common equity ratio and overall credit quality consistent with investment grade ratings by Dec. 31, 2004. The exact amount and timing of an equity issuance will be determined based on market conditions and other factors.
During 2003, Westar Energy reduced its consolidated debt by more than $890 million to $2.25 billion. Cash for the debt reduction came from the sale of the company’s ONEOK investment, the sale of Protection One Europe and cash from operations.
Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WR) is the largest electric utility in Kansas, providing electric service to more than 640,000 customers in the state. Westar Energy has nearly 6,000 megawatts of electric generation capacity and operates and coordinates more than 34,800 miles of electric distribution and transmission lines. The company has total assets of approximately $6.1 billion.
For more information about Westar Energy, visit us on the Internet at http://www.wr.com.