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South Jersey Industries 'making great strides' toward more regulated asset mix

With the closing of the Elizabethtown Gas Co. Inc. and Elkton Gas Co. acquisitions, South Jersey Industries Inc. is well on its way to achieving its desired level of regulated assets, executives told analysts Aug. 9.

South Jersey Industries, or SJI, began the shift in operating strategy in 2015. "We are making great strides in advancing our shift to a more regulated business mix," SJI President and CEO Michael Renna said. He said the gas utility company had achieved its objectives for the first half, which included closing the utility acquisitions and securing regulatory approval for a multiyear extension of the Storm Hardening and Reliability Program.

"As we look out at the remainder of 2018, we are focused on successfully integrating the acquisitions, including the sale of our solar assets, and thoughtfully deploying the anticipated proceeds; completing the review of our remaining noncore, nonregulated businesses; and moving forward with our PennEast and B.L. England pipeline projects," Renna said.

The $1 billion PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC pipeline project is a joint venture SJI is taking part in with affiliates of Enbridge Inc., Southern Co. Inc., New Jersey Resources Corp. and UGI Corp. It received its certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in January and is moving to the next phase to obtain survey access and submit completed applications for water permits in New Jersey and with the Delaware River Basin Commission. SJI expects to start construction of the 1.1-Bcf/d pipeline by late 2019.

SJI posted second-quarter adjusted net income of $5.5 million, or 7 cents per share, up from $4.5 million, or 6 cents per share, in the prior-year period. The company reaffirmed its 2018 economic earnings guidance of $1.57 per share to $1.65 per share, excluding impacts of acquisitions and divestitures.