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SteelRiver closes third regulated gas utility acquisition and creates the largest natural gas distribution company in Pennsylvania

NEW YORK, Dec. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- SteelRiver Infrastructure Partners announced today that it has completed the acquisition of Equitable Gas Company LLC from EQT Corporation (NYSE: EQT), through its controlled gas utility Peoples Natural Gas Company LLC.

As part of the transaction, Peoples made a cash payment of approximately $740 million to EQT which includes a $720 million base price and $20 million of initial purchase price adjustments, and transferred certain midstream and storage assets to EQT.  Equitable will be merged with Peoples, with Peoples as the surviving entity, creating the largest gas utility company in Pennsylvania by number of customers.  Concurrently, Peoples has entered into arm's length service agreements with EQT to secure continued firm supply of gas for existing and future customers.

The transaction, signed in December 2012, has received clearance by the Federal Trade Commission under the Hart-Scott Rodino Act, and approvals by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and the West Virginia Public Service Commission.  The Kentucky Public Service Commission determined that it did not have jurisdiction over the sale.

The acquisition of Equitable is highly complementary to SteelRiver's investment portfolio, which includes two Pennsylvania regulated gas utilities, Peoples and Peoples TWP.  The transaction was funded with equity from SteelRiver managed funds, including a newly-formed partnership which includes investments from insurance companies John Hancock and Allstate, and Dutch pension fund manager PGGM, and a combination of bank debt and investment grade bonds. As a result of the transaction, SteelRiver controls, through its managed funds, three natural gas regulated utilities operating in mostly contiguous service territories in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky, serving approximately 700,000, predominantly residential customers.

Chris Kinney, Senior Managing Partner of SteelRiver and CEO of SteelRiver Infrastructure Fund North America commented: "The acquisitions of Peoples and Peoples TWP have led to increased capital investment in the region and the creation of hundreds of jobs in Western Pennsylvania. With the acquisition of Equitable, SteelRiver further strengthens its commitment to own and operate regulated utility assets safely and reliably for the long-term in partnership with key institutional investors." 

Dennis Mahoney, Senior Managing Partner of SteelRiver also commented:  "The acquisition of Equitable attests to SteelRiver's continued appetite to deploy capital in the regulated utility space in the U.S., our partnership approach with portfolio companies to secure transactions away from competitive auction processes, and our ability to attract incremental capital to grow our franchise as owner and operator of infrastructure assets in North America."

Morgan O'Brien, President and CEO of Peoples Natural Gas said, "The combined utility will bring great benefits to all our customers. Combining our pipeline systems will create a more efficient and streamlined operating system and will enhance both safety and reliability. Our combined operation is estimated to save more than $160 million in avoided capital spending that would otherwise be paid for by customers through their utility bills."

SteelRiver Infrastructure Partners is an independent investment management firm with over $4 billion of AuM that invests in infrastructure in North America for the long term, seeking out assets and businesses that provide essential services with stable cash flows, and often operating within a regulated framework. SteelRiver's long-term approach to infrastructure investing is characterized by a significant emphasis on value added through in-house asset management and experienced infrastructure investment professionals.
For more information on SteelRiver please visit www.steelriverpartners.com.

Peoples Natural Gas Company is a regulated natural gas distribution company that transports and distributes natural gas primarily to residential and commercial customers within its delivery area in southwestern Pennsylvania, serving, together with its sister company Peoples TWP, approximately 420,000, mostly residential, customers throughout 18 counties.

Equitable Gas Company is a regulated natural gas public utility that provides natural gas distribution services to approximately 260,000 residential customers, and 18,000 commercial and industrial customers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky. The company owns approximately 4,000 miles of pipeline across these same states.

SOURCE SteelRiver Infrastructure Partners

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