Investment by Brookfield Super-Core Infrastructure Partners Supports FirstEnergy's Capital Growth Program, Strengthens Balance Sheet
AKRON, Ohio, May 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) today announced that its subsidiary FirstEnergy Transmission, LLC (FET), has completed the sale of a 19.9% minority equity stake to Brookfield Super-Core Infrastructure Partners for $2.375 billion. FirstEnergy retains an 80.1% equity interest in FET and FirstEnergy's workforce will continue to maintain and operate the company's transmission system.
FirstEnergy announced the agreement with Brookfield in November 2021, along with a $1 billion equity investment in FirstEnergy common stock by Blackstone Infrastructure partners, which closed in December.
FirstEnergy is using the combined $3.4 billion in proceeds from these strategic financings to strengthen its balance sheet, fund its capital program and address its equity plans, with the exception of annual issuances of up to $100 million under regular stock investments and employee benefit plans. FirstEnergy's sustainable capital investment program of $17 billion from 2021 through 2025 is focused on developing a more resilient and modern grid and prioritizes emerging technologies, electric vehicle infrastructure, renewable generation and programs to help customers optimize their energy use.
"With the completion of these transformative investments, FirstEnergy is well-positioned to continue delivering financial and operational excellence, drive our long-term strategies to support smart grid and clean energy initiatives, and transform our company into a more innovative, resilient and industry-leading organization," said FirstEnergy President and Chief Executive Officer Steven E. Strah.
"We are pleased to have completed this transaction and to see this marquee, high-quality investment in our portfolio," said Eduardo Salgado, Managing Partner in Brookfield's Infrastructure Group and head of Brookfield Super-Core Infrastructure Partners. "Our partnership with FirstEnergy will position us well to capture unique capital investment and value creation opportunities over the long-term in-line with our mutual objectives around the decarbonization and electrification of the economy."
FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp or online at www.firstenergycorp.com.
Forward-Looking Statements: This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 based on information currently available to management. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. These statements include declarations regarding management's intents, beliefs and current expectations. These statements typically contain, but are not limited to, the terms "anticipate," "potential," "expect," "forecast," "target," "will," "intend," "believe," "project," "estimate," "plan" and similar words. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, assumptions, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, which may include the following the potential liabilities, increased costs and unanticipated developments resulting from government investigations and agreements, including those associated with compliance with or failure to comply with the Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio; the risks and uncertainties associated with government investigations and audits regarding Ohio House Bill 6, as passed by Ohio's 133rd General Assembly ("HB 6") and related matters, including potential adverse impacts on federal or state regulatory matters, including, but not limited to, matters relating to rates; the risks and uncertainties associated with litigation, arbitration, mediation, and similar proceedings, particularly regarding HB 6 related matters, including risks associated with obtaining court approval of the definitive settlement agreement in the derivative shareholder lawsuits; weather conditions, such as temperature variations and severe weather conditions, or other natural disasters affecting future operating results and associated regulatory actions or outcomes in response to such conditions; legislative and regulatory developments, including, but not limited to, matters related to rates, compliance and enforcement activity, cybersecurity, and climate change; the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from our FE Forward initiative and our other strategic and financial goals, including, but not limited to, overcoming current uncertainties and challenges associated with the ongoing government investigations, executing our transmission and distribution investment plans, greenhouse gas reduction goals, controlling costs, improving our credit metrics, growing earnings, strengthening our balance sheet, and satisfying the conditions necessary to close the sale of the minority interest in FirstEnergy Transmission, LLC; the risks associated with cyber-attacks and other disruptions to our, or our vendors', information technology system, which may compromise our operations, and data security breaches of sensitive data, intellectual property and proprietary or personally identifiable information; mitigating exposure for remedial activities associated with retired and formerly owned electric generation assets; the ability to access the public securities and other capital and credit markets in accordance with our financial plans, the cost of such capital and overall condition of the capital and credit markets affecting us, including the increasing number of financial institutions evaluating the impact of climate change on their investment decisions; the extent and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related impacts to our business, operations and financial condition resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19 including, but not limited to, disruption of businesses in our territories, supply chain disruptions, additional costs, workforce impacts and governmental and regulatory responses to the pandemic, such as moratoriums on utility disconnections and workforce vaccination mandates; actions that may be taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect either our access to or terms of financing or our financial condition and liquidity; changes in assumptions regarding factors such as economic conditions within our territories, the reliability of our transmission and distribution system, or the availability of capital or other resources supporting identified transmission and distribution investment opportunities; changes in customers' demand for power, including, but not limited to, economic conditions, the impact of climate change, or energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes in national and regional economic conditions, including recession and inflationary pressure, affecting us and/or our customers and those vendors with which we do business; the potential of non-compliance with debt covenants in our credit facilities; the ability to comply with applicable reliability standards and energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes to environmental laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, those related to climate change; changing market conditions affecting the measurement of certain liabilities and the value of assets held in our pension trusts, or causing us to make contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger, than currently anticipated; labor disruptions by our unionized workforce; changes to significant accounting policies; any changes in tax laws or regulations, or adverse tax audit results or rulings; the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") filings. Dividends declared from time to time on FirstEnergy Corp.'s common stock during any period may in the aggregate vary from prior periods due to circumstances considered by FirstEnergy Corp.'s Board of Directors at the time of the actual declarations. A security rating is not a recommendation to buy or hold securities and is subject to revision or withdrawal at any time by the assigning rating agency. Each rating should be evaluated independently of any other rating. These forward-looking statements are also qualified by, and should be read together with, the risk factors included in FirstEnergy Corp.'s filings with the SEC, including, but not limited to, the most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequent Current Reports on Form 8-K. The foregoing review of factors also should not be construed as exhaustive. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such factors, nor assess the impact of any such factor on FirstEnergy Corp.'s business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. FirstEnergy Corp. expressly disclaims any obligation to update or revise, except as required by law, any forward-looking statements contained herein or in the information incorporated by reference as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.