Progress Energy To Sell Off More Subsidiary Operations

Shedding of four gas-fired power plants in Georgia and associated contracts to produce $480 million in cash, tax benefits.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Progress Energy is continuing its strategy of diversification, reaching agreements to sell off four gas-fired power plants in Georgia and associated contracts.

The deals will produce $480 million in cash and benefits, Progress (NYSE: PGN) said after the markets closed on Monday.

The utility firm has been moving aggressively to sell off properties it no long considers essential to its core business as part of a strategy to prepare for expansion to meet growing electrical power needs.

ArcLight Capital Partners is purchasing the Georgia plants.

Contracts to provide gas and power and other services to 16 Georgia electric membership cooperatives are being sold to Constellation Energy Commodities Group.

Progress Ventures, which is part of Progress Energy, is making the deals.

"These transactions, combined with other Progress Ventures' asset sales that we are working on, put us on track to meet our 2007 divestiture proceeds target," said Peter Scott, chief financial officer of Progress Energy, in a statement. “We have strengthened our balance sheet and credit metrics and lowered our risk profile. With this latest transaction, we are well positioned to accommodate the significant future growth that is expected in our electric utilities."

The four plants and related contracts were sold for $265 million. Progress also said it would realize tax benefits of $215 million.