Philadelphia, September 11, 2013– Mayor Michael A. Nutter stated today that, judging by the initial response to the City of Philadelphia’s Request for Qualifications (RFQ), there is great interest in buying the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW).
The City issued the RFQ related to PGW on August 2. By the closing date of August 30, the City had received a substantial number of responses. Given that the potential sale of PGW is a competitive process, the City is not disclosing the number or the identities of entities competing at this time.
“It is extremely encouraging that we received such a tremendous response from so many interested parties that are capable of continuing PGW’s safe, reliable operations,” said Mayor Nutter.
The mayor has established a baseline that any sale must benefit PGW customers and Philadelphia’s taxpayers for the long term. The buyer must also agree to the City’s public purpose requirements for a sale such as continuing discount programs for low-income families and senior citizens. Philadelphia is the only major city on the East Coast that still owns a gas company.
“The outpouring of interest is robust,” said Paul Dabbar, Managing Director in the Global Mergers & Acquisitions Group and Head of Power and Gas Mergers & Acquisitions at J.P. Morgan LLC, one of the brokers handling the sales process along with Loop Capital Markets LLC. “The number of those responding and the diversity of competitors bodes well for achieving a price that would meet the City’s goals and expectations from a potential sale of PGW.”
Organizations submitting their qualifications include international and domestic utility owners and operators of utility and infrastructure assets.
In this qualifications phase, those interested in participating in the process to acquire PGW were asked to demonstrate their financial capability and operational expertise to purchase, own and manage the PGW system in a safe and reliable manner as well as their ability to meet the Mayor’s publicly outlined policy objectives.
“All of those who have submitted their qualifications demonstrated strong credentials and are being invited to participate in the bidding,” said Thomas R. Rosén, Managing Director and Head of Power, Utilities, and Energy for Loop Capital. “This first step of the process has validated our belief that there would be great interest in purchasing PGW.”
Qualified respondents to the RFQ will soon 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, Lazard Freres, 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 City expects to negotiate final terms with the winning bidder in December or January. The transaction will require approval from Mayor Nutter and City Council. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission must approve the sale to make it final. That approval process could take up to a year.
PGW is the nation’s largest municipally-owned gas utility, with annual revenues of more than $600 million, more than 500,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers, and more than 1,600 employees, Read more about the sale process and submit questions or comments at www.exploringasale.com.