Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) (NYSE:ENB) will invest $145 million to acquire an additional 6.8% interest in Noverco from Laurentides Investissements (SAS), a subsidiary of GDF SUEZ bringing its total interest to 38.9%.
Trencap, a partnership managed by the Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (the Caisse), will acquire Laurentides Investissements' remaining 10.8% interest in Noverco, following which Enbridge and Trencap will become the sole shareholders of Noverco. The transaction is expected to close later in the year once all regulatory approvals have been received.
Noverco is a holding company that owns 71% of theGaz Metro Limited Partnership (Gaz Metro) which owns gas distribution and gas pipelines assets in the province of Quebec and gas and electric power distribution and transmission assets in the State of Vermont. Noverco also owns approximately 9% of the common shares of Enbridge Inc.
"Enbridge is pleased to have this opportunity to increase our indirect interest in Gaz Metro, and to reinforce our strategic relationship with Trencap and the Caisse," said Richard Bird, Enbridge's Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Development. "Gaz Metro is a good fit with Enbridge's investor value proposition of reliable earnings performance and substantial dividend payout. We like the long term economic potential of the natural gas infrastructure business in Quebec, and we look forward to continuing to work with Gaz Metro management and board of directors to enhance the value of this business. This investment, though modest in size, will be accretive to Enbridge's earnings per share in 2011, and increasingly so in future years. It also simplifies the ownership of Noverco which paves the way for further expansion of this strategic relationship."
Enbridge Inc., a Canadian company, is a North American leader in delivering energy and one of the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations. As a transporter of energy, Enbridge operates, in Canada and the U.S., the world's longest crude oil and liquids transportation system. The Company also has a growing involvement in the natural gas transmission and midstream businesses, and is expanding its interests in renewable and green energy technologies including wind and solar energy, hybrid fuel cells and carbon dioxide sequestration. As a distributor of energy, Enbridge owns and operates Canada's largest natural gas distribution company, and provides distribution services in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and New York State. Enbridge employs approximately 6,500 people, primarily in Canada and the U.S. ranked as one of Canada's Greenest Employers, and one of the Top 100 Companies to Work for in Canada.