USA: El Paso Pipeline Partners Agrees to Acquire Additional Interest in SNG

 

El Paso Pipeline Partners, L.P. announced today that it has agreed to acquire an additional 22-percent interest in Southern Natural Gas Company (SNG) from El Paso Corporation for $587 million.

The acquisition will increase El Paso Pipeline Partners’ interest in SNG to 82-percent. El Paso Corporation has granted El Paso Pipeline Partners a 45-day option to purchase up to an additional 3-percent interest in SNG at a price of approximately $26.7 million per one percent interest purchased.

“The acquisition of additional interests in SNG continues our momentum from 2010 and allows us to maintain our excellent distribution growth profile,” said Jim Yardley, president and chief executive officer for the general partner of El Paso Pipeline Partners. “In addition to providing immediate accretion to our unitholders, this acquisition increases our interest in SNG which is strategically located in the region with the highest expected growth rate for natural gas demand in the country.”

El Paso Pipeline Partners expects to finance the transaction in a manner consistent with its current and target capital structure, which may include debt incurred under the partnership’s revolving credit facility, the issuance of public securities and the issuance of a promissory note to El Paso Corporation. The transaction is expected to close by the end of March 2011.

Management intends to recommend to the Board of Directors of the general partner an increase in the quarterly cash distribution to $0.46 per unit, or $1.84 per unit on an annualized basis, beginning with the first quarter 2011 distribution, which will be declared and paid in the second quarter 2011. This would represent an increase of 5 percent from the fourth quarter 2010 distribution of $0.44 per unit and an increase of 21 percent above the partnership’s first quarter 2010 distribution of $0.38 per unit.

The terms of the transaction were unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of the general partner, El Paso Pipeline GP Company, L.L.C., based in part on the unanimous approval and recommendation of the Board’s conflicts committee, which is comprised entirely of independent directors. The conflicts committee engaged Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. to act as its independent financial advisor and to render a fairness opinion.

El Paso Pipeline Partners, L.P. is a Delaware limited partnership formed by El Paso Corporation to own and operate natural gas transportation pipelines and storage assets. El Paso Corporation owns a 49 percent limited partner interest and 2 percent general partner interest in the partnership. Prior to the closing of this transaction, El Paso Pipeline Partners, L.P. owns Wyoming Interstate Company (WIC), Southern LNG Company, L.L.C. (SLNG), Elba Express Company, L.L.C. (Elba Express), a 60 percent interest in Southern Natural Gas Company (SNG), and a 58 percent interest in Colorado Interstate Gas Company (CIG). WIC and CIG are interstate pipeline systems serving the Rocky Mountain region, SLNG owns the Elba Island LNG storage and regasification terminal near Savannah, Georgia, and both Elba Express and SNG are interstate pipeline systems serving the southeastern region of the United States.

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Source: El Paso Pipeline Partners, March 7, 2011;

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