Constellation Energy buys 2 marketing companies

Both are acquired from Wisconsin Energy

October 23, 2003|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

In a move to increase its market as an energy supplier to large commercial and industrial customers, Constellation Energy Group Inc. said yesterday that it has purchased two Midwest energy marketing companies from Wisconsin Energy Corp.

The Baltimore utility acquired Blackhawk Energy Services, which provides natural gas and electricity to customers in Illinois, and Kaztex Energy Management, which provides natural gas to customers in Wisconsin. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The acquisitions will give Constellation an additional 1,100 commercial, industrial and wholesale customers, and fits with its strategy of supplying energy nationally to large customers. Constellation Energy Group is the nation's leading competitive supplier of electricity to large commercial and industrial customers.

Blackhawk and Kaztex are energy marketers that commercial and industrial businesses hire to procure their energy.

Since 2002, Constellation has increased its business to large customers, including industrial and commercial power users as well as utilities that purchase power or natural gas, through acquisitions of companies including NewEnergy, Alliance and Fellon-McCord.

The acquisitions of Kaztex, formed in 1986, and Blackhawk, formed in 1995, "fit squarely within that scope," said Mark P. Huston, Constellation's vice president for corporate strategy and development. "Both are what I would describe as proven business platforms. Part of our focus is to buy [companies] that are proven.

"Currently, we do not have any gas customers in Wisconsin, and we have limited [gas] customers in Illinois, so by purchasing these companies, we immediately pick up 1,100 large customers in both Wisconsin and Illinois."

Constellation has a strong presence in selling electricity to commercial and industrial customers in Illinois through NewEnergy, one of the recently acquired companies.

Constellation NewEnergy also announced yesterday that it had reached an agreement with Ford Motor Co. to supply electricity to Ford facilities in southeastern Michigan.

Constellation's shares closed at $35.56 yesterday, down 17 cents a share.

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