Electric M&A: The merger with PSE&G may herald a new industry structure, squarely at odds with regional markets.
Gas distributors tell how their business strategies are changing in response to issues such as higher gas prices, electric M&A, LNG, and gas pipeline development.
Business & Money
Sticking to the Knitting:
A review of three years of post-Enron stock performance by electric utilities.
Immediately following the Enron collapse, investors dumped the stock of any electric power company that appeared to be pursuing non-traditional growth strategies. Any company that emphasized unregulated businesses-investments in overseas assets, merchant power plant development, and energy marketing and trading-was suspect.
Can utility executives find happiness in back-to-basics?
We've read the pitch a number of times in these very pages. Top investment bankers have told us that a "back-to-basics" strategy will never produce a high-enough return to please electric utility stockholders; that the only solution to bridge this "earnings gap" would involve a rash of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) between utilities.
Several hurdles remain to further liberalization and full competition in the electricity sector.
A short list of questions that every board member and senior manager should be able to answer.
Will a back-to-basics strategy meet investor expectations?
It's an issue that is coming to the fore with greater force-the debate over how utilities should honor their obligation to stockholders. But this time there seems to be quite a difference of opinion over strategy-or so we found in our annual finance issue.
Operations & Maintenance
The process of calculating meaningful benchmarks is fraught with pitfalls.
Regulatory reporting requirements for major U.S. utilities provide a wealth of data for benchmarking studies. Both the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Form 1 for electric utilities and FERC Form 2 for gas utilities involve the reporting of more than 2,500 unique data points per utility per year, across diverse aspects of utility operations, maintenance, and finance.
When will utilities see the next round of deals?
With the substantial decline in utility mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity since the heady days of 2000, it's time to ask when M&A activity might return, if at all. Business combinations provide a potentially important means for a utility to enhance its earning and growth prospects, and one of the few alternatives available to achieve these objectives at an acceptable risk.
Buying TimeSlowly and cautiously, utilities are moving back into growth mode.
The air is buzzing with talk of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). It can be heard in the boardroom and on the trading floor. Bankers hear it, and they see their deal backlog beginning to grow. Fund managers hear it, as they hunt for the best buys in the market before strategic investors snatch them up. Financial advisers and lawyers hear it, too; their phones are ringing more than they have in years.