Northern States Power Co. (NSP) and Wisconsin Energy Corp. (parent company of Wisconsin Electric Power Co., WEPCO, and Wisconsin Natural Gas Co.), have announced plans to merge, a move NSP says will create the tenth-largest investor-owned utility in the United States, based on market capitalization. The new company (em Primergy Corp. (em would operate as a registered public utility holding company and parent company of NSP and WEPCO, with the gas subsidiary perhaps spun off to comply with the Holding Company Act. NSP and Wisconsin Energy described the move as a "merger of equals" (em alluding to the strong competitive position of NSP and WEPCO.
Richard A. Abdoo, chairman, president, and CEO of Wisconsin Energy, said: "This merger gets us in front of the changing energy marketplace [as] a premier investor-owned energy company." James J. Howard, chairman, president, and CEO of NSP, called the merger "the best and most financially conservative way to ensure continued competitive rates over the long term for both companies."
Howard, 59, will serve as Primergy chairman and CEO after the merger. Abdoo, 51, will become vice chairman, president, and CEO of Primergy, then chairman as of July 2000, Howard's normal retirement date.