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Baton Rouge company set to acquire Entergy gas distribution business

8 months 3 weeks 3 days ago Monday, October 30 2023 Oct 30, 2023 October 30, 2023 11:12 AM October 30, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Bernhard Capital Partners will acquire the gas distribution arm of Entergy in a deal valued at nearly half a billion dollars.

The two companies announced the pending transaction on Monday.

"I am looking forward to seeing in this application what Bernhard Capital proposes to do with the current infrastructure and policies and procedures to make sure that it stays in line with what we have seen Entergy do with their gas customers currently," public service commissioner Davante Lewis said.

Entergy appears to be anticipating a smooth transition, saying in an email to customers:

"Bernhard Capital has indicated it intends to keep the customer billing process as seamless as possible. We will communicate more information with our customers in the months ahead about what this change could mean for their service."

Entergy will spin off a division that provides gas to about 95,000 homes and businesses in the Baton Rouge area and another 105,000 in New Orleans.

The deal calls for a purchase price of about $484 million.

Entergy said it will use the proceeds to repay debt and to support its growing electric utility business.

"This agreement allows us to continue our strategy of simplifying operations and focusing on our regulated electric utility business for the benefit of our customers," said Drew Marsh, chairman and chief executive officer for Entergy. 

Bernard Capital is a Baton Rouge firm that focuses on investments in companies providing critical services, including utilities.

Commissioner Craig Greene also appears positive about the acquisition, saying in a statement:

“The LPSC process will now begin, and as the transaction details are reviewed, we will confirm whether the sale is in customers best interest. Bernhard Capital has a history of putting its customers first, with strategic investments to bring reliable service to its customers and thoughtful business practices when it matters most. When National Water Infrastructure (NWI), a Bernhard Capital owned utility, invested in wastewater services throughout Ascension Parish, NWI paid two months of their customers’ bills in full during the hardest part of the pandemic. They were the only utility to my knowledge to take such an aggressive step to aid their customers in that difficult time.”

The deal requires regulatory approval, including that of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, the Metropolitan Council and the New Orleans City Council.

Completion of the transaction could take up to 21 months.

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