New Orleans and Novi, Mich., Dec. 5, 2011 – Entergy Corp. and ITC Holdings Corp. today announced that the Boards of Directors of both companies have approved a definitive agreement under which Entergy will divest and then merge its electric transmission business into ITC.
Entergy’s electric transmission business consists of approximately 15,700 miles of interconnected transmission lines at voltages of 69kV and above and associated substations across its utility service territory in the Mid-South. Following the completion of the transaction, ITC will become one of the largest electric transmission companies in the U.S., with more than 30,000 miles of transmission lines, spanning from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast.
“This transaction furthers ITC’s position as a preeminent electric transmission owner, operator and developer in the U.S. and also serves to validate the benefits of the independent transmission model,” said Joseph L. Welch, ITC chairman, president and CEO. “By combining these businesses, we will significantly enhance the scale of our operations and financial resources as we continue to invest in electric transmission infrastructure for the benefit of customers, resulting in improved reliability, reduced system congestion and greater access to competitive energy markets. The transaction will also strengthen our existing transmission platform through the addition of sizable new service territories, thus enhancing our ability to deliver long-term sustainable growth.
“This is an attractive and natural strategic fit for ITC that provides benefits for stakeholders, including customers, employees, local communities and shareholders. Customers in Entergy’s service territory will benefit from the commitment that ITC makes to the regions and communities we serve, which is the cornerstone of our business and furthers our mission to be a best-in-class transmission provider and good corporate citizen. We have a strong track record of efficiently and effectively integrating systems and anticipate a seamless transition for Entergy customers,” Mr. Welch said.
Entergy chairman and CEO J. Wayne Leonard said, “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with ITC, and after careful consideration, we believe this transaction is without a doubt the right decision for our customers and other stakeholders. The transaction enables us to maintain the financial flexibility necessary to address the growing challenges our industry faces, including substantial infrastructure investment. We believe ITC’s independent transmission company structure is the best model to drive economic efficiency, achieve an open and robust market, and provide access for low-cost generation and efficient transmission use and expansion in the country.”
The terms of the transaction agreements call for Entergy to divest its electric transmission business to a newly-formed entity, Mid South TransCo LLC (Transco), and distribute this newly-formed entity to its shareholders in the form of a tax-free spin-off. Transco will then merge with and into a newly-created merger subsidiary of ITC.
Completion of the transaction is expected in 2013 subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions, including the necessary approvals of Entergy’s retail regulators, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and ITC shareholders.
Upon the closing of the merger, ITC’s Board of Directors will appoint two new independent directors who will have transmission industry knowledge and familiarity with the region in which Entergy operates. ITC’s management team will remain intact for the combined business, but will be supplemented with key leadership personnel from Entergy’s transmission business to ensure a successful integration and consistency of operations.
Following completion of the transaction, approximately 750 current Entergy positions will be integrated into ITC. In addition, ITC will assume operations of the Entergy transmission and transmission-related facilities throughout the region and further establish a regional presence within the Entergy footprint, including maintaining a regional headquarters in Jackson, Miss. ITC’s corporate headquarters are located in Novi, Mich.