Sempra Energy International signs agreement with Dominion Resources

Jul 11, 2000 02:00 AM

Sempra Energy International, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, announced that it has signed an agreement with Dominion Resources to purchase Dominion's natural gas and electricity assets in Argentina for $ 145 mm in cash.
Sempra Energy International is acquiring an additional 21.5 % interest in holding companies that control Camuzzi Gas Pampeana, and Camuzzi Gas del Sur, raising its total stake to 43 %. The Camuzzi Gas companies serve a combined 1.2 mm customers in central and southern Argentina, delivering approximately one-third of all the natural gas distributed in the country. As part of the transaction, Sempra Energy International also will acquire 25 % of a holding company with a controlling interest in Empresa Distribuidora de Energia Atlantica, an electricity distribution company serving more than 400,000 customers in the province of Buenos Aires.
Dominion acquired ownership interests in the three Argentine utilities through its acquisition of Consolidated Natural Gas in January 2000. "This transaction effectively doubles Sempra Energy International's stake in the Camuzzi Gas companies, which are growing enterprises with strong balance sheets and solid cash flow," said Donald E. Felsinger, group president of Sempra Energy and also chairman of the subsidiary, Sempra Energy International. "This will help us meet our aggressive growth targets for our international business and advance our strategy to expand our presence in the gas and electricity markets of the Southern Cone of South America."

Sempra Energy International already has a major presence in key Latin American energy markets through joint and solo ventures that provide natural gas and electricity services to more than 2.5 mm customers in Argentina, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.
The purchase does not require approvals in the United States; however, it will require approval by the anti-trust authorities in Argentina. Since the transaction does not result in majority ownership, the companies do not anticipate any problems in the review process, which should be completed by fall.
"This sale completes our exit from Latin America and further concentrates our resources and expansion efforts on growing energy markets in the Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States," said Thos. E. Capps, president and CEO of Dominion Resources. "Our experience in Argentina has taught us much about operating profitable energy businesses in competitive markets. We look forward to bringing that experience to deregulating markets here at home."

Earlier, Dominion agreed to sell its 80 % interest in a British power station to PowerGen. for $ 80 mm. In April, the company completed the sale of its Latin American generation businesses to Duke Energy International for $ 405 mm.
In May, Dominion agreed to sell its Virginia Natural Gas utility to AGL Resources as part of its merger with Consolidated Natural Gas. Dominion is also divesting its Dominion Capital Financial Services subsidiary as part of the merger. "We expect to raise more than $ 1.5 bn in cash through divestiture of these assets. These sales will help us strengthen our balance sheet and help us meet or exceed our earnings target of $ 3.25 to $ 3.30 in 2000 and $ 3.50 to $ 3.60 in 2001," Capps said.

Dominion, headquartered in Richmond, VA, is the largest fully integrated electric power and natural gas company in the US, serving 4 mm retail gas and electric customers in five states. It has 20,000 MW of electric generating capacity, with 6,000 MW under development. Dominion is also one of the largest independent oil and natural gas exploration and production companies in North America, with nearly 3 tcf of reserves.

Sempra Energy International is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego, California, with 12,000 employees, revenues of nearly $ 5.5 bn and more than 9 mm customers in the United States, Europe, Canada, Mexico and South America.

Source: Business Wire
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