(Reuters) - Utility holding company Laclede Group Inc (LG.N) will double its customer base with a $1 billion deal with Energy Transfer Equity LP (ETE.N) to acquire Southern Union Co's Missouri Gas Energy and New England Gas Co.
The gas utilities, which had combined revenue of about $517 million for the year ended September 30, passed into Energy Transfer's hands when it acquired pipeline operator Southern Union last year.
The deal, which includes nearly $20 million in debt, will take Laclede Group's customer base to nearly 1.2 million. The utilities serve over 500,000 customers in western Missouri and about 50,000 in Massachusetts.
Laclede expects the transaction to be neutral to its earnings per share in the first full year after close, likely in the third quarter of 2013.
Energy Transfer Partners LP (ETP.N), a unit of Energy Transfer Equity and a party to the deal, said the transaction was part of the company's efforts to divest its non-core assets.
Wells Fargo Securities LLC is acting as financial adviser to Laclede, while Credit Suisse Securities LLC is advising Energy Transfer and Southern Union.
(Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)