Westar Expects $230.5M From Stock Sale
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Westar Energy Inc. said Wednesday it expects to raise $230.5 million from selling some of its stock in a Tulsa, Okla., natural gas company.
The Topeka-based electric company is under orders from the Kansas Corporation Commission to reduce its debt, and it announced plans in February to sell off non-utility assets.
Westar said Wednesday it has priced 9.5 million shares of ONEOK Inc. at $19 a share, generating $180.5 million in a deal expected to close Monday.
In addition, ONEOK plans to buy another $50 million worth of its stock, or 2.6 million shares, at the same $19 price from Westar.
Westar once owned 45 percent of ONEOK because of a 1997 deal in which Westar gave ONEOK the assets of its own retail natural gas supply system in exchange for an ownership interest in the Tulsa company.
The latest sale would reduce Westar’s stake on ONEOK to 15 percent from 27.5 percent. In February, Westar netted $244 million from its first ONEOK stock sale.
Jim Zakoura, an Overland Park attorney representing large Westar industrial customers, said Westar received a fair price in its latest offering.
``I think it’s about what people expected,″ he said.
Westar is the state’s largest retail electric supplier, with 657,000 customers. ONEOK is the state’s largest retail gas supplier, with 635,000 customers, serving them through its Kansas Gas Service subsidiary.
In afternoon trading Wednesday in the New York Stock Exchange, ONEOK shares rose 36 cents to $19.41 while Westar shares were up 35 cents to $16.70.
On the Net:
Westar Energy: http://www.wr.com