Chesapeake Utilities Corp. announced the sale of the assets of two of its water treatment and conditioning dealerships, Carroll Water Systems, Inc. and Sam Shannahan Well Co., Inc. (doing business as (dba) Sharp Water). The impact of these sales will not be material to the company's financial results. With these two sales, Chesapeake has reduced its investment in the water treatment and conditioning business to one dealership.
The Carroll Water Systems dealership is located in Westminster, Md. The Sharp Water dealership has two operating locations, one in Salisbury, Md., and one in Dover, Del.
The company reported that the sale of these dealership assets represents another step taken by Chesapeake to address the poor performance of the water services business. Strong performance and growth in the company's core energy operations, while addressing the challenges of the water services business, should provide opportunities for improved returns in the future. Earlier in 2003, Chesapeake sold the assets of EcoWater Systems of Michigan, Inc. dba Douglas Water Conditioning; Sharp Water of Idaho, Inc., dba Intermountain Water; Sharp Water of Minnesota, Inc. dba EcoWater Systems of Rochester; and Absolute Water Care, Inc.
"We have not waivered from the commitment we made to our shareholders at the beginning of 2003. The sale of the dealerships in 2003 and this announcement reflect our commitment to improve the performance of the company," said John R. Schimkaitis, president and chief executive officer of Chesapeake Utilities. "We are continuing to evaluate the company's strategy for the one remaining dealership."
Chesapeake's strategy is to grow earnings from its utility foundation by investing in related businesses and services that provide opportunities for higher, unregulated returns. This growth strategy includes acquisitions and investments in unregulated businesses as well as the continued investment and expansion of the company's utility operations that provide a stable base of earnings.