Jun 02, 2004

Aqua America Completes Acquisition of ALLETE's Water and Wastewater Utilities in North Carolina

Aqua America, Inc. announced that it completed the acquisition of Heater Utilities, Inc., based in Cary, North Carolina, from ALLETE Water Services, Inc., a subsidiary of ALLETE, Inc. The acquisition makes Aqua's North Carolina operation the largest private water and wastewater utility in the state, serving more than 175,000 residents. The $76 million stock purchase agreement included a payment of $48 million in cash and the assumption of approximately $28 million in debt. The acquisition will be immediately accretive to earnings.

The Heater operations add more than 48,000 water and 6,000 wastewater customers. The acquisition adds complementary customer locations in the growing areas of suburban Raleigh, Gastonia and Fayetteville to Aqua's current locations in suburban Wilmington, Greensboro and Hickory, and will also expand the presence of the companies around Charlotte.

"We are very pleased to add such a reputable and well-run system to our growing customer base in the Southeast," said Aqua Chairman and President Nicholas DeBenedictis. "Heater's team provides the additional management and operating depth we need as our North Carolina operation becomes one of the largest in the company. This acquisition, along with the pending acquisition of Florida Water Services, continues to enhance our geographic diversity and footprint in the southern states."

Aqua America is the largest U.S.-based publicly-traded water utility serving approximately 2.5 million residents in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Maine, Missouri, New York, South Carolina and Kentucky. Aqua America is a publicly traded company listed on both the New York and Philadelphia Stock Exchanges under the ticker symbol WTR. The company has been committed to the preservation and improvement of the environment throughout its history, which spans more than 100 years, according to Business Wire.