UPDATE 1-Berkshire's energy unit to buy Canada's AltaLink for $2.9 bln

Thu May 1, 2014 7:39pm EDT

(Adds background, details on deal)

May 1 (Reuters) - Berkshire Hathaway Inc's energy unit said on Thursday it will buy AltaLink, Canada's regulated electricity transmission company, from SNC-Lavalin Group Inc for about $2.9 billion in cash.

AltaLink will operate as a separate company under Berkshire Hathaway Energy with its current name and will continue to be headquartered in Calgary, the two companies said in separate statements.

SNC-Lavalin had said in September that it was looking to sell its equity stake in AltaLink as part of its strategic plan to trim ownership of infrastructure investments and monetize assets.

AltaLink, whose assets include 280 substations and about 12,000 kilometers (roughly 7,456 miles) of transmission lines, serves about 85 percent of Alberta's population and reported revenue of C$534.1 million ($486.63 million) in 2013.

The deal, which has been approved by the boards of both companies, is expected to close by the end of 2014.

Berkshire Hathaway Energy, a unit of billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, has also agreed with SNC-Lavalin to jointly pursue transmission projects in North America, the company said. ($1 = 1.0976 Canadian Dollars) (Reporting by Sweta Singh and Aman Shah in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Diane Craft)

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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