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Energy services company $GAS said it received regulatory approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for its proposed merger with $SO, settling all issues in the proceeding. The BPU's decision was the final regulatory approval needed to close the deal. Subject to other conditions, the deal is expected to close on or around July 1.
$GAS' variable-rate debt target is 20-45% of total debt. As of March 31, 2016, $GAS' variable-rate debt was 21% of its total debt compared to 28% as of December 31, 2015. The decrease was primarily due to lower commercial paper borrowings resulting from customer collections on winter sales of natural gas and other seasonal working capital needs.
For the three months ended March 31, 2016, in $GAS' distribution operations, EBIT grew by $6MM compared to the prior-year period. Retail operations' EBIT decreased by $7MM compared to the prior year. In wholesale services, EBIT fell by $12MM while in midstream operations, EBIT rose by $1MM compared to last year.
Energy services company $GAS had net income of $182MM in 1Q16, a decrease of $11MM compared to 1Q15. This decrease was due primarily to lower consolidated EBIT of $16MM largely driven by a $22MM negative weather impact , a $12MM EBIT decrease at wholesale services and $3MM in merger-related expenses in 2016.
$GAS said its division AGL Capital Corp priced a registered public offering of an aggregate principal amount of $350MM of senior notes due June 15, 2026 at an interest rate of 3.250%. The senior notes will be guaranteed by AGL Resources. The offering is expected to close on May 18, 2016.
Utility holding company $SO said it has started a public offering of 18,300,000 shares through which it expects to raise gross proceeds of $900MM. Net proceeds from this will be used to fund a part of the price for $SO's pending acquisition of $GAS and related costs and for other corporate purposes. Offering is expected to close on May 11.
$SO and $GAS said an agreement has been reached that settles all contested issues in the New Jersey merger proceeding. The merger is still subject to final approval by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, the company said. The companies also confirmed that the merger remains on track for closing in the second half of 2016.
CEO Andrew Evans said performance at each of $GAS' business segment surpassed its expectations driven by infrastructure investment programs, higher customer usage, lower expenses and an effective weather hedging program, despite warmer-than-normal weather in the 1Q of this year.
Energy services holding company $GAS reported a decline in 1Q16 earnings due to lower revenues. Net income slid to $182MM or $1.51 per share from $193MM or $1.62 per share last year. Operating revenues fell to $1.33Bil from $1.72Bil. Excluding merger expenses and wholesale services, EPS declined to $1.30 from $1.34.
$GAS said its BoD declared a quarterly dividend of $0.53 per common share, payable on June 1, to shareholders of record on May 13. While timing around close of proposed merger between $GAS and $SO is expected to occur in 2H16, should merger close prior to quarter's dividend record date, $GAS does not expect to pay pro-rata dividend.
Energy services companies $SO and $GAS said that they received regulatory approval of the companies' proposed merger from the Georgia Public Service Commission. On completion, the two companies are expected to create the second-largest utility company in the U.S. by customer base. The deal is expected to be completed in 2H16.
$SO and $GAS said they have received unanimous regulatory approval of the companies' proposed merger from the California Public Utilities Commission. When completed, the combination is expected to create the second-largest utility company in the U.S. by customer base. The companies expect to close the transaction in 2H16.
$GAS' net cash used in financing activities for 2015 increased to $366MM from $224MM last year. The increase was primarily as a result of net repayments of commercial paper during 2015, partially offset by excess of proceeds from issuance of senior notes in 4Q15 over the senior notes that matured in 1Q15.
$GAS' net cash used in investing activities for 2015 increased to $1.03Bil from $505MM last year. The increase was primarily due to increased infrastructure investment, primarily relating to Nicor Gas' Investing in Illinois program, combined with increased spending for other rate-based investments at distribution operations.
$GAS' net cash provided by operating activities for 2015 rose to $1.38Bil from $655MM last year. The increase was primarily related to higher working capital needs during the prior year, cash provided by derivative financial instrument assets and liabilities, and a 2014 tax refund received related to last year extension of bonus depreciation.