Hampton-based Utility Planning to Repay Debt

By Michael McCord

Hampton Union, Friday, May 11, 2012

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON — Unitil Corp. has announced plans to issue as many as 2.645 million new shares of common stock.

In paperwork recently filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Hampton-based utility company said “net proceeds from this offering are expected to be used to make equity capital contributions to Unitil’s regulated utility subsidiaries, to repay short-term debt and for general corporate purposes.” The plan is to offer 2.3 million shares in common stock and 345,000 shares for additional purchase to the four underwriters of the offering. RBC Capital Markets LLC has been named the main underwriter of the proposed offering.

Citing SEC regulations, a spokesman for Unitil declined to give a time frame for the sale or the potential prices of the shares. He also would not say when the company had last made a major stock issuance. According to SEC filings by the company, there have been at least two major stock issuances since December 2008.

In late May 2009, Unitil issued and sold 2,700,000 shares of common stock (which included 300,000 shares purchased by the underwriters of the offering) at $20 per share as part of a registered public offering. That offering raised approximately $51.2 million, which the company used to help finance corporate acquisitions, capital contributions to its distribution utilities and the repayment of short-term debt.

Unitil also issued a total 2 million new shares of common stock at $20 per share in a December 2008 offering. The net proceeds from that offering were used to repay “$36.8 million outstanding under the bank financing facility for the company’s acquisitions of Northern Utilities and Granite State,” the gas transmission company Unitil purchased in 2008. The company also said it raised $5.1 million from the same offering when it made an over-allotment sale of 270,000 shares to the underwriters in January 2009. Those net proceeds were used to repay a portion of the bank financing for the company’s acquisitions of Northern Utilities and Granite State and repay other short-term indebtedness.

Founded in 1984, Unitil distributes electricity and natural gas in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine, and serves approximately 101,400 electric and 71,900 natural gas customers. Until has a market cap valuation of more than $282 million.