Aquarion Buys Village Water Company

Updated 4:51 PM ET May 18, 2000

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (BUSINESS WIRE) - BHC Company (BHC), the major water utility subsidiary of Bridgeport-based Aquarion Company, today completed its acquisition of the Village Water Company (VWC) of Simsbury, Connecticut.

Terms of the sale agreement entitle former VWC shareholders to receive $150 in cash for each share of previously outstanding common stock. The value of the transaction is $6.5 million in cash, which includes payment for outstanding debentures that could have been converted to common shares prior to closing.

The Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control on May 5 approved BHC's request to purchase VWC, citing BHC's extensive managerial and water supply distribution experience, as well as its access to advanced technology developed by its parent company, Kelda Group, plc of Leeds, England.

BHC President and Chief Executive Officer Janet M. Hansen said, "We are pleased to add 5,200 additional households to the half million customers already served in other parts of Connecticut. Now that we've finalized the sale, we can offer VWC customers what we do best - provide high-quality water and excellent customer service."

Hansen said BHC will make some initial improvements to the VWC water supply and distribution system in the next few months. The company will upgrade VWC's chlorinating facilities at two wells by installing a modern liquid chlorine treatment system. "This new, more reliable system provides more effective chlorine treatment; removes chlorine gas storage and feed equipment for a safer work place for our employees; and eliminates any possibility of an accidental chlorine discharge to the environment," Hansen added.

In addition, an alarm system will be installed and connected to BHC's existing, state-of-the-art alarm system to alert the company of any water treatment or supply problem at any time of the day or night. "In the event of a problem, these improvements will allow us to take timely corrective action before any of our customers are affected," Hansen said.

In March 1999, BHC and Village Water Company signed a letter of intent, and a definitive merger agreement was executed in June 1999.

Aquarion Company's principal business is public water supply. Through its BHC and Sea Cliff Water Company subsidiaries, it is one of the 10 largest investor-owned water utilities in the U.S. and serves a population of more than 500,000 in 32 Connecticut and Long Island, NY communities. Other businesses include contract management of municipal water systems and timber processing.

Kelda has annual revenues of $1.1 billion and operates in the United Kingdom and Europe. Its water and sewerage services business, Yorkshire Water Services, provide drinking water to approximately 1.9 million customers, or a population of 4.5 million, in the County of Yorkshire, England. It is one of the 10 largest water companies in the world. Yorkshire Water Services supplies its customers with 350 million of gallons of water daily, treated at 112 water treatment facilities.