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NextEra wraps purchase of Southern Co. assets with closing of Gulf Power deal

NextEra Energy Inc. closed the acquisition of northern Florida electric utility Gulf Power Co., marking the completion of the three transactions it announced with Southern Co. in 2018.

The Juno Beach, Fla.-headquartered company in May 2018 agreed to acquire Gulf Power, natural gas distribution utility Florida City Gas and two gas plants from Southern Co. for about $6.48 billion, including the assumption of about $1.4 billion in debt.

NextEra completed the acquisition of Florida City Gas for approximately $530 million in July 2018, followed by the closing of its $203 million deal for Southern Power Co.'s 100% interest in the 791-MW Oleander and 65% interest in the 660-MW Stanton plants in December 2018.

The Gulf Power deal is valued at approximately $4.35 billion in cash and the assumption of about $1.30 billion debt, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. NextEra financed the acquisitions through the issuance of new debt.

The transactions would enable NextEra to boost its regulated contribution to 70% of the overall business mix and Southern to address a $7 billion equity need over the next five years.

The sales "deliver substantial value" to the company and its stockholders by "strengthening our financial position and allowing us to fund our business without raising significant additional capital," Southern Co. Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Fanning said.

Gulf Power owns or operates approximately 2,277 MW of generating capacity and owns a 2,700-mile transmission system and 7,700-mile distribution system. Florida City Gas serves about 110,000 customers in southeastern Florida.