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UTILICORP ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION OF NEBRASKA GAS DISTRIBUTION UTILITY

 KANSAS CITY, Mo., Nov. 16 ~PRNewswire~ -- UtiliCorp United (NYSE:UCU) announced today that it has signed a letter of intent with Arkla, Inc. (NYSE: ALG) to purchase the Nebraska gas distribution system of Arkla's Minnegasco division for approximately $78 million.
 The system, which serves about 124,000 gas customers in 63 eastern Nebraska communities, will be merged with UtiliCorp's Peoples Natural Gas divisil Gas will serve 161,000 Nebraska customers and 468,000 customers overall in a five-state service region that also includes Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas and Colorado.
 Under the all cash transaction, UtiliCorp will acquire all of Minnegasco's Nebraska gas distribution and transmission assets. The transaction will be funded initially via short-term debt, followed up by a subsequent issuance of equity and long-term debt consistent with the company's capital structure.
 The acquired system will contribute to UtiliCorp's financial results for most of the upcoming heating season.
 The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 1993.
 "This addition to Peoples' system is another important step forward in UtiliCorp's growth strategy," said UtiliCorp Chairman and President Richard C. Green, Jr. "With Peoples' headquarters located in Omaha, and the 38,000 customers we already serve in the state, this transaction establishes a strong Nebraska presence for us."
 Peoples Natural Gas became a UtiliCorp division in late 1985 when it was acquired from Enron Corporation. Since 1984, UtiliCorp has acquired eight gas and electric utilities in seven states and the province of British Columbia.
 Based in Kansas City, UtiliCorp will serve approximately 1.1 million utility customers upon completion of the acquisition. The company also is engaged in various non-regulated energy and utility related enterprises.
 -0- 11~16~92
 ~CONTACT: Phil Hermanson of UtiliCorp, 816-691-3541~
 (UCU ALG)


CO: UtiliCorp United; Arkla, Inc. ST: Missouri IN: UTI SU: TNM

AH -- NY053 -- 1232 11~16~92 11:33 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 16, 1992
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