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Shares of Florida Utility Soar

March 27, 2000

JUNO BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Shares in FPL Group, the parent of Florida Power & Light, surged nearly 8 percent Monday on reports that the utility may be acquired by Spain’s second-largest power company.

Iberdrola SA of Madrid and FPL Group, based in Juno Beach, both declined comment on the reports.

FPL rose $3.31 1/4 to $46.62 1/2 a share on the New York Stock Exchange following a report in The Wall Street Journal that Iberdrola is contemplating a cash and stock acquisition valuing the Florida company at about $60 a share, or $11 billion.

Reports of talks surfaced last week in a Spanish newspaper.

The Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said there is a significant chance that the talks could fall apart and that an announcement is not imminent.

But if an $11 billion agreement is struck, it would be the largest purchase of a U.S. utility by a foreign buyer and would reflect the depressed prices of some U.S. utility companies, the report said.

Last year, Iberdrola paid $50 million for a Maryland-based power plant developer, EnergyWorks. And Britain’s PowerGen PLC has announced plans to acquire LG&E Energy Corp., of Louisville, Ky., for $3.2 billion.

Buying FPL would give Iberdrola access to one of the best markets in the United States, said Robin Diedrich, a senior investments analyst for Edward Jones.

``They have been growing their asset base and have been in a very strong financial situation,″ Deidrich said.

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