ITC Holdings (NYSE:ITC) expects FERC to reach a decision on its transaction with Entergy (NYSE:ETR) in early summer, CEO Joe Welch said during ITC’s 4Q12 earnings call Feb. 28.
ITC will acquire Entergy’s transmission assets in a reverse Morris transaction that requires FERC approval, as well as state regulatory approvals from the Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Arkansas commissions, and approval from the New Orleans City Council.
Welch noted that while he expected FERC to reach a decision in early summer, the commission could take more time, as needed. The companies filed for FERC approval on Sept. 24, 2012.
State regulators are likely to reach final decisions regarding the transaction with Entergy in the late summer to early fall, giving the transaction sufficient time to close in 2013, Welch said.
The companies have filed all necessary regulatory approvals, Welch said. ITC and Entergy submitted their final application on Feb. 19, with the Public Utilities Commission of Texas. The transaction has also cleared the Hart Scott Rodino review, Welch said.
ITC will determine which investment opportunities within Entergy’s system to pursue, which CFO Cameron Bready said would be an undertaking that is more likely to take months than weeks after the merger closes.
“ We know what their capital plan is,” Bready said. “What we don’t know is how quickly we’ll be able to implement all of our planning protocols and identify the incremental opportunities that we would perhaps believe need to be advanced … It’s going to take us a little bit of time to get our hands around that.”
ITC scheduled a special shareholder meeting to vote on the transaction on April 16.
In Louisiana, regulatory hearings will take place June 24-28 and July 1-2. In Arkansas, hearings will take place July 9-12; in New Orleans, July 23-26; and in Mississippi, Aug. 6-8. The companies proposed a hearing date of May 20 in Texas.