WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Eversource Energy (ES) said it agreed to purchase the Massachusetts natural gas assets of Columbia Gas from NiSource for $1.1 billion.
Columbia Gas currently serves 330,000 natural gas customers in more than 60 communities in Massachusetts. Eversource has 300,000 natural gas customers and 1.5 million electric customers in 51 communities across the commonwealth.
The transaction is expected to be accretive to Eversource's earnings per share in the first 12 months after closing. The company plans to finance the transaction with a balance of new equity and debt that maintains its strong credit profile.
The companies expect to close the transaction by the end of the third quarter 2020.
NiSource said that it has withdrawn its 2020 net operating earnings per share guidance of $1.36 to $1.40, due to the execution of the transaction.
However, NiSource continues to expect to make capital investments of $1.8 to $1.9 billion in 2020. The transaction is expected to enable NiSource to eliminate its previously planned 2020 block equity issuance.
NiSource expects to initiate 2021 net operating earnings per share guidance and establish a 5 to 7 percent long-term growth rate for both net operating earnings per share and dividend with 2021 as the base year.
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