Allete Inc. said that had agreed to sell seven water and wastewater systems to Florida government groups for $296 million, unloading part of the water services business that it has been trying to sell for months.
In a statement, Allete said that various Florida government groups will acquire the plants, which serve the counties of Osceola, Hernando, Citrus, Lee and Charlotte as well as the communities of Marco Island and Palm Coast.
Allete recorded a $55 million gain on the sale; $158 million of the proceeds from the deal will go toward paying down company debt.
Allete, which owns Minnesota Power and runs an automotive auction network, has been trying to sell its Florida Water subsidiary since last year. It had agreed to sell the unit for nearly $500 million, but canceled the deal in the face of lawsuits from various counties and homeowners' associations.
The new deal accounts for about two-thirds of Florida Water's total assets. Allete said that it planned to continue shopping the rest of the subsidiary.