1 Also cited as contributing factors are the lack of long-term contracting, operating problems in the ISO and power exchange (PX) markets, and suggestions that owners of generation took advantage of the supply shortage and the design of California's wholesale power markets to exercise market power to drive prices higher.
What's a Utility?
Never before have investors known less about what their company is up to.
How many different types of "utility" companies can you name? Which ones would you trust the most to double or triple your investment nest egg? Which ones make you nervous?
THE COALITION OF utilities calling to "Repeal PUHCA Now!" has pulled together a first-class team of lobbyists. They have been working intensely on Capitol Hill for more than two years. But they haven't won the easy victory they thought was within their grasp when the Republicans took over the Congress in 1994. The major flaw in the coalition's approach is classic: The pro-repeal lobbyists have been tireless talkers, but poor listeners.
Liberalisation of the electricity markets in the UK and Scandinavia has driven merger activity in these territories. This was evident in 1996 with U.S. companies taking over MEB, East Midlands Electricity and Northern Electric, with London Electricity likely to follow in early 1997.
Utilities that participate in a merger are just a likely to find revenues shrinking as growing, according to a recent study of completed and pending M&A activity among U.S. utility and energy companies.
The study, "Energy Utility Perspectives (em Creating Value Through Mergers and Acquisitions," conducted by Mercer Management Consulting, examines 43 completed and 53 pending U.S. utility deals conducted between 1985 and 1995.
but outsourcers could be cutting in.Wholesale competition and the prospect of competitive retailing are leading many electric utilities to turn their distribution activities into discrete business units. But the emergence of the "DisCo" as a distinct entity may only mark the first step in a more radical disaggregation.
Why the distribution business may see radical change isn't immediately apparent.
Some shareholders do find bottom-line value
in a "marriage of convenience."
With six merger and acquisition (M&A) deals announced between May 1995 and January 1996, and three more so far this year, the long-predicted consolidation of the electric utility industry is taking hold. At least 23 utilities, with business-combination transactions pending, are part of the frenetic domestic M&A activity that has swept the industry.
A Moody's Investors Service report, Moody's Assesses Risk in Utility Combinations and Spin-Offs, finds that mergers and acquisitions (M&A) do not mitigate the higher business risk posed by electric deregulation. The report also claims that financial risk only declines to the extent that management uses merger-related savings to reduce leverage.
Utilities pursue mergers to boost shareholder returns; regulators approve mergers to secure benefits for customers, such as lower rates. Bondholders run a distant third.
Over the past two and a half years, 10 large mergers have been announced, involving 21 investor-owned electric and gas utilities. Only the MidAmerican Energy merger has been completed, but the estimated market value of the pending mergers is an astounding $40.5 billion. Clearly, this recent wave of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity signals that electric utilities are positioning themselves for future competitive energy markets.
Results from Resource Data International's (RDI's) recent study, U.S.
The article "Electric Utility Mergers: The Answer or the Question?" (by Robert J. Michaels) in the January 1, 1996, issue, along with current events involving my employer, a midwestern utility currently involved in a merger, initiated some questions and comments regarding top executives chairmen.
We expect continued mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the continental United States until 50 or fewer utilities serve the nation.