Westar Energy to mull 'strategic options,' including potential sale
- Westar Energy is considering its strategic options, including a potential sale of the company, according to media reports crediting Bloomberg News with the scoop.
- Anonymous sources told Bloomberg sale of the company is being considered, but the utility has yet to hire a financial advisor.
- Westar President and CEO Mark Ruelle kicked off speculation over a possible sale in a conference call in November, when he said the utility would consider the option. Westar serves about 700,000 customers in Kansas.
Feeding on an industry trend of consolidation, speculation is that Westar will wind up being bought. Bloomberg reported that several potential suitors have already been contacted, but so far there are few details surrounding the potential deal.
As SNL points out, the deal would build on a pattern of recent midcap deals, including Canadian power company Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp.'s move to purchase Empire District Electric.
Westar is Kansas’ largest electric utility, serving 700,000 customers. The company has 7,200 MW of electric generation, a mix of coal, nuclear, gas and wind. The utility has been growing its renewable portfolio, and earlier this year signed a contract with NextEra Energy Resources for the 200 MW output of the Kingman Wind Energy Center in Kansas. That facility is expected online in 2017; the deal allows Westar to purchase 50% of the project before it comes online.
In February, Westar said recently announced wind farms would bring its renewable energy portfolio to more than 1,700 MW, enough to meet a third of the utility's retail load.
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