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SteelRiver Reaches Agreement to Acquire Equitable Gas Company through its Controlled Natural Gas Distribution Utility

NEW YORK, Dec. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Peoples Natural Gas, a regulated natural gas distribution company controlled by an affiliate of SteelRiver Infrastructure Partners, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with EQT Corporation (NYSE: EQT) for the acquisition of EQT's natural gas distribution business, Equitable Gas Company.

As part of the transaction, Peoples has agreed to a payment of $720 million in cash and the transfer of certain midstream and storage assets and gas marketing contracts to EQT.  At closing, Equitable is expected to be merged into Peoples, with Peoples as the surviving entity.  In addition, upon closing, Peoples expects to enter into arm's length service agreements with EQT to facilitate the transition of ownership and secure supply of local gas to existing and future customers of the utilities.

The acquisition of Equitable is highly complementary to SteelRiver's existing portfolio and the combined entity is expected to generate incremental value for SteelRiver's investor base.  As a result of the transaction, SteelRiver expects to control, through its managed funds and co-investment vehicles, three natural gas regulated utilities operating in contiguous service territories in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky, serving approximately 700,000, mostly 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 to upgrade the existing infrastructure and the creation of more than 300 jobs in Western Pennsylvania. With the addition of Equitable, SteelRiver adds to its commitment to the region to own and operate safe and reliable utility service with a long-term investment horizon under the leadership of Morgan O'Brien." 

Dennis Mahoney, Senior Managing Partner of SteelRiver also commented:  "The acquisition of Equitable attests to our appetite for continued capital deployment in regulated utilities, our ability to work with our portfolio companies to secure unique transactions, away from competitive auction processes, and the desire to continue to attract incremental investor capital and grow our franchise as an owner and operator of core infrastructure assets in North America."

Morgan O'Brien, President and CEO of Peoples Natural Gas commented, "The combined utility will yield substantial benefits to the respective service areas by creating significant operational efficiencies for the pipeline systems, enhancing safety and reliability, and supporting greater competition for gas marketers and local gas producers."  O'Brien continued, "Combining the companies' respective pipeline systems will result in a more streamlined operating system for customers, allowing the companies to avoid incurring upcoming replacement costs where the systems overlap while continuing to invest in our Smart Modernization Program of accelerated replacement of the older parts of our system." 

The transaction requires regulatory approval by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the West Virginia Public Service Commission and the Kentucky Public Service Commission, and clearance by the Federal Trade Commission under the Hart-Scott Rodino Act, as well as other standard federal regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2013.

SteelRiver Infrastructure Partners is an independent investment management firm that invests in core infrastructure in North America for the long term, seeking out assets and businesses that provide essential services with stable cash flows and are often regulated at the local or federal level.  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. SteelRiver manages an unlisted infrastructure investment vehicle with committed capital in excess of USD 1.9 billion, and approximately USD 1.8 billion of co-investor equity capital.  SteelRiver's managed vehicles own energy and infrastructure assets throughout North America.  For more information on SteelRiver please visit www.steelriverpartners.com.

Peoples Natural Gas 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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