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CH Energy shareholders approve Fortis deal

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (AP) -- CH Energy Group Inc. shareholders on Tuesday voted in favor of plans to be acquired by Fortis Inc. in a deal worth $1.5 billion.

Fortis announced in February that it planned to acquire CH Energy, marking the Canadian utility's entry into the regulated U.S. electric and gas distribution market.

CH Energy is the parent company of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp., a regulated transmission and distribution utility that serves about 300,000 electric and 75,000 natural gas customers in New York's Mid-Hudson River Valley.

Under the terms of the agreement, Fortis will pay CH Energy Group shareholders $65 per share, an 11 percent premium over the utility company's closing share price before the deal was announced.

CH Energy said 92 percent of shares were voted in favor of the acquisition at a special meeting of shareholders held in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2013.

Fortis shares rose 32 cents to $32.90 in midday trading. CH Energy's shares fell 14 cents to $64.96.