Great Plains Energy, Inc. (ticker: GXP, exchange: New York Stock Exchange (.N))
News Release -
Empire District Shareholders OK UtiliCorp MergerKANSAS CITY, Mo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 3, 1999-- Shareholders
of The Empire District Electric Company (NYSE:EDE) today voted strong
approval for the planned merger of the Joplin, Missouri utility with
Kansas City-based UtiliCorp United (NYSE:UCU).
Of the shares voted, 13,154,539 or 93.5 percent were in favor of
the merger, while only 808,886 or 4.7 percent voted against. The total
vote represents 82 percent of all Empire District shares outstanding.
A simple majority of outstanding shares was required.
UtiliCorp United is an international energy company with
customers and operations across the U.S. and overseas. Empire District
is an electric utility headquartered in Joplin, Missouri,
approximately 150 miles south of Kansas City.
Responding to the vote, Richard C. Green, Jr., UtiliCorp chairman
and chief executive officer, said, "We are extremely pleased by the
positive vote of Empire District shareholders today. We can now move
forward with preparing the documents required for approval by state
and federal regulatory agencies, and establishing teams of employees
from both companies to work together to assure a smooth transition."
A vote by UtiliCorp shareholders was not required, and Green said
he expected the regulatory approval process to be completed sometime
Under terms of the agreement, valued at approximately $800
million, UtiliCorp is offering $29.50 for each Empire District common
share, payable in UtiliCorp common stock or cash, which approximates
$505 million. UtiliCorp also will assume approximately $310 million of
existing Empire District debt.
UtiliCorp has 5,500 employees and in 1998 reported record
earnings available for common shares of $132.2 million on record sales
of $12.6 billion. Empire District has 640 employees and in 1998 posted
earnings of $25.9 million on revenues of $239.9 million.
Empire District serves 145,000 electric customers in southwest
Missouri and in five Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas counties that
adjoin the state. UtiliCorp United serves more than 4.5 million
customers across the United States and in Canada, Australia, New
Zealand and the United Kingdom. Its Missouri Public Service unit
serves nearly 250,000 electric and gas customers in western Missouri,
mostly east of Kansas City.
CONTACT: UtiliCorp United, Kansas City
George Minter, 816/467-3772
Media Relations, 816/467-3000
Dale Wolf, 816/467-3536
Ellen Fairchild, 816/467-3506