January 23, 2019

Maine Water Co. voluntarily withdraws merger-related application with PUC

Courtesy / Connecticut Water Co.
Courtesy / Connecticut Water Co.
Connecticut Water Service Inc. (NASDAQ: CTWS), parent company of Maine Water Co., and California-based SJW Group announced today that Connecticut Water subsidiary Maine Water Co. is withdrawing its application before the Maine Public Utilities Commission relating to their stalled merger transaction. The two companies said they remain committed to the merger and could eventually refile their petitions with regulators in Maine and Connecticut for approval of the $1.1 billion merger.

At a glance

Connecticut Water is the parent of Connecticut Water Co., Maine Water Co., Avon Water Co. and Heritage Village Water Co. The subsidiaries provide water service to more than 450,000 people in Connecticut and Maine, and wastewater service to 10,000-plus people in Connecticut. Connecticut Water became the largest investor-owned water utility in Maine in 2012 with its $53.5 million purchase of Aqua Maine and $19.8 million purchase of the Biddeford & Saco Water Co., which are both now under the name of Maine Water Co. Maine Water Co. serves more than 32,000 customers, or approximately 85,000 people, in 21 communities across Maine.

Maine Water Co. voluntarily is withdrawing its application before the Maine Public Utilities Commission relating to the stalled merger transaction between its parent company, Connecticut Water Service Inc., and SJW Group.

The voluntary withdrawal, announced today in a joint news release by SJW Group (NYSE: SJW) and Connecticut Water Service (NASDAQ: CTWS), is without prejudice and both companies said they reserve the right to refile their petition if they decide to proceed with the merger.

As reported in Mainebiz, the two companies on Jan. 9 withdrew their application to state regulators in Connecticut to combine in a proposed $1.1 billion deal. The withdrawal was in response to a preliminary decision by the Connecticut Public Utility Regulatory Authority in December to block SJW's acquisition bid — which was reaffirmed the previous week when regulators declined to reopen their review of the deal in order to consider new information the two companies hoped would change the regulators' minds.

SJW Group, based in San Jose, Calif., and Connecticut Water are evaluating their regulatory approach in connection with the proposed merger, including the possibility of submitting a new application to the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. They said withdrawing the application with Maine PUC ensures that if they do apply again in Connecticut "any regulatory filings are consistent in both states and that any commitments made in Connecticut will be appropriately reflected in the Maine proceeding."

"We thank the commission, the Office of the Public Advocate, and their staff for their flexibility and accommodation in the conduct and scheduling throughout this proceeding," Maine Water President Richard Knowlton said in a news release. "The companies continue to believe the combination is in the public interest, with the potential to provide important and unique benefits for customers, communities and the Maine Water employees who serve those communities. We expect the merger can create efficiencies, generate savings, and bring best practices that will benefit the customers and communities the companies serve."

SJW Group and Connecticut Water said their merger agreement remains in effect and the companies remain committed to the merger and to realizing its many stakeholder benefits.

The companies stated that with the support of regulatory counsel they are reviewing their options and taking all appropriate steps to serve the best interest of their respective stakeholders and shareholders.


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