COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 14, 2016 – American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) has signed an agreement to sell four competitive power plants totaling approximately 5,200 megawatts (MW) for approximately $2.17 billion to a newly formed joint venture of Blackstone (NYSE: BX) and ArcLight Capital Partners LLC (ArcLight).
The sale agreement includes:
- Lawrenceburg Generating Station, 1,186 MW natural gas, Lawrenceburg, Indiana
- Waterford Energy Center, 840 MW natural gas, Waterford, Ohio
- Darby Generating Station, 507 MW natural gas, Mount Sterling, Ohio
- Gen. James M. Gavin Plant, 2,665 MW coal, Cheshire, Ohio
AEP announced in January 2015 that the company was exploring strategic alternatives for these power plants, including a potential sale. All of this generating capacity is located in the region served by the PJM Interconnection.
“AEP’s long-term strategy has been to become a fully regulated, premium energy company focused on investment in infrastructure and the energy innovations that our customers want and need. This transaction advances that strategy and reduces some of the business risks associated with operating competitive generating assets,” said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer.
“Our employees have done an incredible job operating these power plants in PJM, and I’m confident that they will contribute to the future success of Blackstone and ArcLight. We will continue to operate these plants safely in the coming months while working closely with the Blackstone and ArcLight teams to obtain the regulatory approvals necessary to complete the sale. We also will be working with employees and community leaders to ensure a smooth transition,” Akins said.
“Blackstone and ArcLight are two of the leading private equity funds focused on energy infrastructure, with significant investments and experience owning and operating power generation in North America and Europe. Combined they have owned and operated more than 38,000 megawatts of power generation globally, including operations in the PJM Interconnection, New York ISO and Electric Reliability Council of Texas competitive markets in the United States,” Akins said.
The sale is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017. AEP expects to net approximately $1.2 billion in cash after taxes, repayment of debt associated with these assets and transaction fees. The company is evaluating options and will share details about its plans for investment of the proceeds from this transaction at an analyst day Nov. 1. These plans may involve reinvestment in its regulated businesses, including transmission; renewable projects; additional debt retirement; and share buybacks.
AEP expects to record an after-tax gain of approximately $140 million from the sale, subject to inventory true-ups, income tax and other adjustments.
The sale is subject to regulatory approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and federal clearance pursuant to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.
Goldman Sachs and Co. served as AEP’s lead financial advisor for the strategic evaluation of these assets. Citigroup Global Markets Inc. also served as a financial advisor for AEP during the process. Simpson Thacher and Bartlett served as legal counsel.
AEP owns 2,677 MW of additional competitive generation in Ohio. The company is continuing an independent strategic evaluation of that generation while also working on the restructuring of Ohio electricity regulations to allow those assets to be acquired by AEP Ohio for the benefit of its customers. AEP also is continuing a separate strategic review of its 48 MW hydroelectric Racine Plant in Racine, Ohio.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also operates 224,000 miles of distribution lines. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 31,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also supplies 3,200 megawatts of renewable energy to customers. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.
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This report made by American Electric Power and its Registrant Subsidiaries contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Although AEP and each of its Registrant Subsidiaries believe that their expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, any such statements may be influenced by factors that could cause actual outcomes and results to be materially different from those projected. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are: the economic climate, growth or contraction within and changes in market demand and demographic patterns in AEP’s service territory; inflationary or deflationary interest rate trends; volatility in the financial markets, particularly developments affecting the availability of capital on reasonable terms and developments impairing AEP’s ability to finance new capital projects and refinance existing debt at attractive rates; the availability and cost of funds to finance working capital and capital needs, particularly during periods when the time lag between incurring costs and recovery is long and the costs are material; electric load, customer growth and the impact of competition, including competition for retail customers; weather conditions, including storms and drought conditions, and AEP’s ability to recover significant storm restoration costs; the costs of, and transportation for, fuels and the creditworthiness and performance of fuel suppliers and transporters; availability of necessary generating capacity and the performance of AEP’s generating plants; AEP’s ability to recover fuel and other energy costs through regulated or competitive electric rates; AEP’s ability to build transmission lines and facilities (including the ability to obtain any necessary regulatory approvals and permits) when needed at acceptable prices and terms and to recover those costs; new legislation, litigation and government regulation, including oversight of nuclear generation, energy commodity trading and new or heightened requirements for reduced emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, carbon, soot or particulate matter and other substances, or additional regulation of fly ash and similar combustion products that could impact the continued operation, cost recovery, and/or profitability of AEP’s generation plants and related assets; evolving public perception of the risks associated with fuels used before, during and after the generation of electricity, including nuclear fuel; a reduction in the federal statutory tax rate that could result in an accelerated return of deferred federal income taxes to customers; timing and resolution of pending and future rate cases, negotiations and other regulatory decisions, including rate or other recovery of new investments in generation, distribution and transmission service and environmental compliance; resolution of litigation; AEP’s ability to constrain operation and maintenance costs; AEP’s ability to develop and execute a strategy based on a view regarding prices of electricity and other energy-related commodities; prices and demand for power that AEP generates and sells at wholesale; changes in technology, particularly with respect to new, developing, alternative or distributed sources of generation; AEP’s ability to recover through rates or market prices any remaining unrecovered investment in generating units that may be retired before the end of their previously projected useful lives; volatility and changes in markets for capacity and electricity, coal, and other energy-related commodities, particularly changes in the price of natural gas and capacity auction returns; changes in utility regulation and the allocation of costs within regional transmission organizations, including ERCOT, PJM and SPP; the transition to market for generation in Ohio, including the implementation of ESPs and AEP’s ability to recover investments in its Ohio generation assets; AEP’s ability to successfully and profitably manage its separate competitive generation assets; changes in the creditworthiness of the counterparties with whom AEP has contractual arrangements, including participants in the energy trading market; actions of rating agencies, including changes in the ratings of AEP debt; the impact of volatility in the capital markets on the value of the investments held by AEP’s pension, other postretirement benefit plans, captive insurance entity and nuclear decommissioning trust and the impact of such volatility on future funding requirements; accounting pronouncements periodically issued by accounting standard-setting bodies; and other risks and unforeseen events, including wars, the effects of terrorism (including increased security costs), embargoes, cyber security threats and other catastrophic events.