Philadelphia, August 2, 2013 – The City of Philadelphia took the first formal step today in the process to identify a qualified buyer of the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) by issuing a Request for Qualifications (RFQ).
In this qualifications phase, those interested in participating in a sale process to acquire PGW must demonstrate their financial capability and operational expertise to purchase, own and manage the PGW system in a safe and reliable manner.
“We know that many companies see this as an opportunity to expand PGW’s investment footprint and its current operations. I believe strongly that the sale of PGW will create jobs in the city, benefit PGW customers and grow Philadelphia’s economy,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “Philadelphia is the only major city on the East Coast that still owns a gas company.”
Parties that are determined to be qualified by the City will be invited to participate in the initial bidding phase. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (J.P. Morgan) and Loop Capital Markets LLC (Loop Capital) are acting as Brokers to the City and they, along with Lazard, will assist the City in evaluating the prospective bidders. Lazard Freres is acting as the City’s financial advisor during the sale process.
Qualified respondents to the RFQ will be provided additional financial and operational information regarding PGW that they will use to submit a non-binding “indicative” bid in October. The City, with the assistance of its Brokers and financial advisor, will select a group of finalists from these bids to participate in the final phase of the sales process culminating in the submission of binding proposals to acquire PGW.
“The finalists are bidders who we believe would be able to consummate the transaction to buy PGW on terms that are acceptable to the City,” said Paul Dabbar, Managing Director in the Global Mergers & Acquisitions Group and Head of Power and Gas Mergers & Acquisitions at J.P. Morgan. “By that we mean that bidders must not only meet the financial criteria, but must also meet certain public policy objectives. In short, the Mayor has given us clear instructions that any sale must benefit PGW customers and taxpayers for the long term.”
The City expects to negotiate final terms with the winning bidder in December. The transaction will require approval from Mayor Nutter and the City Council. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission must approve the sale to make it final. That approval process could take up to a year.
“We know there is strong interest from the number of unsolicited inquiries we have already received. All potential bidders have until August 23rd to respond to the RFQ to show they have the financial wherewithal and operational competency to acquire PGW,” Dabbar said.
J. P. Morgan and Loop Capital will be paid from sale proceeds, and will only be paid if a sale is completed.
“We’re looking for a strong pool of companies interested in purchasing PGW,” said Thomas R. Rosén, Managing Director and Head of Power, Utilities, and Energy for Loop Capital Markets. “The idea is to maintain the maximum competitive environment.”
PGW is the nation’s largest municipally-owned gas utility, generating annual revenues of more than $600 million and serving more than 500,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers. PGW has more than 1,600 employees.