Robert W. Krick
610-337-1000, ext. 3141
AMERIGAS TO ACQUIRE NISOURCE INC.'S COLUMBIA PROPANE, CREATES LARGEST RETAIL
VALLEY FORGE, Pa., January 31 -- AmeriGas Propane, Inc. general partner of
AmeriGas Partners, L. P. (NYSE: APU), announced that the Partnership has
signed a definitive agreement to acquire the retail propane distribution
businesses of Columbia Energy Group, a NiSource Company (NYSE: NI), for
approximately $208 million. The combination will create the nation's largest
retail propane marketer, distributing more than one billion retail gallons
from over 700 locations. The Columbia businesses currently comprise the
fifth largest retail marketer in the country, selling over 307 million
gallons annually from 186 locations in 29 states.
Lon R. Greenberg, chairman of AmeriGas said, "We are excited about the
opportunities the acquisition of Columbia Propane presents. For many years,
one of our strategic goals has been to grow through the acquisition of both
small and large marketers. Given our track record of successfully
integrating large distributors, we are confident that we will be able to
achieve our financial goals for this acquisition."
"We expect the financial results of Columbia to be accretive to earnings and
cash flow in the first full fiscal year of our ownership," continued
Greenberg. He said the purchase, including transaction costs, would be
financed with approximately $163 million of debt and approximately $53
million of AmeriGas partnership common units to be issued to Columbia
Eugene V. N. Bissell, chief executive officer of AmeriGas, said, "The
Columbia operations will add density to our existing business and, at the
same time, provide us with opportunities to penetrate new markets. We are
pleased to have capitalized on this opportunity to add significantly to our
nationwide platform for growth. Columbia also complements our extensive
"We believe this transaction will not only enhance our ability to serve
customers, but also present additional opportunities for the employees of
both companies," added Bissell. "The Columbia employees are well respected
in the industry and we look forward to welcoming the over 1,600 people of
Columbia into the AmeriGas family. We have created a detailed plan to
integrate the Columbia operations with AmeriGas with minimal disruption to
the workforce," concluded Bissell.
In May 2000, Columbia Energy Group announced its intention to exit the
propane distribution business because it was not consistent with its long
term strategy. Subsequent to the announcement, Columbia Energy was acquired
by NiSource in November 2000. The transaction is subject to customary
conditions, including regulatory approval, and is expected to close in
AmeriGas Partners is one of the nation's largest propane marketers. UGI
Corp. (NYSE: UGI) through subsidiaries owns 55% of the partnership and
individual unitholders own the remaining 45%.
Comprehensive information about AmeriGas is available on the Internet at
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements which
management believes to be reasonable as of today's date only. Actual
results may differ significantly because of risks and uncertainties which
are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond management's control.
You should read the Partnership's 2000 Annual Report on Form 10-K for a more
extensive list of factors that could affect results. Among them are adverse
weather conditions, price volatility and availability of propane, and the
ability to effectively integrate the operations of Columbia Propane and
achieve cost-saving efficiencies. The Partnership undertakes no obligation
Will apu be allright.doubtful,i work in the northeast region and morale is at a all time low and getting worse,especially at ameri-gas.at columbia 90% of the help is ready to bail.these big companys have no loyalty to te employes and we have none to them.everyone is looking for a way out of this industry.they have sucked up to big brother with every regulation possible and passed it on to us,yes sir sign this 32 page form and you will be responsible for everything and then hung out to dry....all righty then- the prozac is kickin in and the voices are getting quiet again.Warning:more ranting possible in the future
"well it will work provided you can handle the Level Propane's,"
"RECC's and Agri-Coop's,"
Also, no problem.
"family owned companies are history."
Never assume that the smaller (more focused and agile) competitor will disappear.
APU is trying to find itself, the public and propane are at direct odds, Columbia was an ego deal (but they didnt pay to much either)gain by buying, well it will work provided you can handle the Level Propane's, RECC's and Agri-Coop's, family owned companies are history.
"Q" tank, a blast from the past. I have not heard that in quite a few years. What is the GW on the BS, and how do I check it out?
I also heard, that a former Amerigas employee several years ago heard at a meeting, that a CEO (not sure when or who) said it did not matter how many customers they lost, they would gain them back by acquisition. But let me ask you this question , if they left before, wont they leave again?
Amen. Why do you think they have to keep buying propane companies (check out the GW on the BS). If you can't maintain customers, then you need to buy them back. Better hold on to that utility, and keep the cash flowing in.
And the only thing those tanks in the yard are doing is depreciating. So much for ROA.
How about that? Amerigas essentially is buying National Propane! And when National Propane was up for sale two years ago, I believe APU passed!
I'm not sure about the wisdom of this one. I guess they just want to get the number one spot back from FGP. My problem with the acquisition is that APU is taking on some tough territories. Just as National Propane had trouble making money in these regions, so might APU. I would rather have seen them start to pay off some of their debt. That is, use the cash to strengthen the balance sheet which has weakened considerably over the last two years. Oh well. I'm just an investor. Looking forward to the conference call this afternoon. At least the earnings and EBITDA were great. Looking for something similar this quarter.
This is a brilliant move on the part of APU. Columbia bought National two years ago for about 215 million or so, if I recall correctly... Now, APU buys Columbia AND National for 208 million. Looks pretty smart to me, particularly when you figure that a lot of Columbia's market is high margin East Coast business.