TECO sells international power plants

TAMPA, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE) — TECO Energy (TE) today announced that its international power subsidiary, TECO Guatemala, has entered into separate agreements to sell all of the equity interests in the Alborada and San José power stations and related solid fuel handling and port facilities in Guatemala for a total purchase price of $227.5 million in cash.

The purchaser of the Alborada Power Station is Sur Electrica Holding Ltd. (SUR). The purchaser of the San José Power Stations and related solid fuel handling and port facilities is Renewable Energy Investments Guatemala Ltd. (REIN), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SUR. SUR and REIN are international companies organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

The sale of the Alborada Power Station closed on Sept. 27, 2012. Due to certain preferential rights held by a third party to purchase the equity interests in the San José Power Station and related port facilities, the ultimate buyer of those interests could change and the closing on the sale of these interests could occur as late as March 2013.

After closing the sales, TECO Energy will utilize the net cash proceeds of approximately $223 million to repay $25 million of San José Power Station project debt, and currently expects to apply the remaining proceeds in a balanced fashion to repurchase common stock and reduce TECO Energy parent debt.

The sale is expected to be dilutive to earnings per share in 2013 and 2014 as benefits from share repurchases and debt retirements will not fully offset the elimination of the TECO Guatemala net income of approximately $20 million annually. In addition, the business absorbed approximately $6 million, pretax, of allocated interest annually. As the sale eliminates uncertainties in 2015, and beyond, associated with the expiration of the Alborada Power Station power sales contract, the expiration and extension of the San José Power Station power sales contract, and the third party’s rights to purchase a 50% ownership interest in the San José Power Station, the dilutive effect could be negligible at that time.

TECO Energy CEO John Ramil said, “These agreements position us to complete our exit from the Guatemalan power sector. Over the life of the investments, our Guatemalan power stations have provided good returns and cash that we’ve used to help strengthen TECO Energy’s balance sheet and invest in our U.S. utilities.”

Ramil went on to say, “The completion of these sales will sharpen our focus on our regulated utilities, enable us to return a portion of the proceeds to our investors through share repurchases, and continue our pattern of debt reduction.”

TECO Guatemala President Phil Barringer said, “Our team members in Guatemala have been outstanding in their dedication and professionalism in the daily operations and throughout this sale process. We wish our TECO Guatemala team members all the best in the future.”

As a result of these agreements, the TECO Guatemala segment will be accounted for as discontinued operations in the third quarter of 2012. The sale is expected to result in an after-tax book loss of up to $33 million. In addition, TECO Guatemala will record an approximately $24 million after-tax charge related to foreign tax credit carryforwards recorded on its balance sheet due to the elimination of future foreign source net income required to utilize these tax credits. The accelerated retirement of debt maturing in 2015 is expected to result in a non-GAAP charge upon completion of the debt retirement.

As a result of the classification of TECO Guatemala as discontinued operations, TECO Energy is revising its 2012 guidance from continuing operations to be in a range between $1.10 and $1.20. At Tampa Electric, the previously reported wet summer weather pattern that reduced energy sales and revenues in July continued through August and September resulting in one of the wettest summer periods on record for the Tampa area. The outlooks for TECO Coal and Peoples Gas remain unchanged.

While TECO Guatemala will no longer have assets or operations in Guatemala, it has retained its rights under its arbitration claim filed against the Republic of Guatemala in October 2010 under the Dominican Republic Central America – United States Free Trade Agreement (DR – CAFTA).

Citi is acting as exclusive financial advisor to TECO Energy in connection with the sale transactions.