NY state regulators approve Fortis takeover of CH Energy; deal valued at $1.5B

ALBANY, N.Y. – New York regulators have cleared the way for Canadian utility company Fortis Inc. to buy CH Energy Group, the parent of Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corp. in a deal valued at US$1.5 billion.

Central Hudson serves about 300,000 electric and 75,000 natural gas customers in New York’s mid-Hudson Valley.

Newfoundland-based Fortis (TSX:FTS) said in February 2012 it would buy CH Energy for $1 billion plus the assumption of about $500 million in debt.

Since then, politicians had joined residents and workers concerned about the loss of local control and potential economic harm.

But the state Public Service Commission approved the deal Thursday with a number of provisions, including some to benefit ratepayers and to protect Central Hudson’s unionized workers.

Fortis says the deal will close shortly after it reviews and accepts the PSC order.

Fortis already owns numerous utility businesses across Canada in five provinces and in other countries. It has a total of two million gas and electricity customers in a combination of regulated and unregulated markets.

— With files from The Canadian Press