UGI to buy rest of AmeriGas Partners in $2.44 billion deal

(Reuters) - Energy distributor UGI Corp said on Tuesday it would buy the remaining nearly 75 percent it does not own in retail propane marketer AmeriGas Partners LP in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $2.44 billion.

Pennsylvania-based UGI also cut its fiscal 2019 profit forecast because of a warmer-than-normal winter in Europe, pushing its shares down 7 percent.

The company now expects a full-year profit of $2.40-$2.60 per share, compared with its previous forecast of $2.75-$2.95.

In the AmeriGas deal, shareholders will receive 0.50 shares of UGI in addition to $7.63 in cash for each share owned, the companies said in a statement.

The offer represents a premium of 13.5 percent to AmeriGas’s Monday closing price. The company’s shares were up 13 percent in morning trade on Tuesday.

“This transaction significantly enhances UGI’s free cash flow, one of the key elements of our long-term success,” UGI Chief Executive Officer John L. Walsh said on a conference call with analysts.

“It will allow us to increase our dividend by a cumulative 25 percent,” he added.

For AmeriGas, the deal allows it to get out of a complex master limited partnership structure and will let it pay down some debt.

The company’s total debt was $2.8 billion as of September 2018, according to a regulatory filing.

(This story has been refilled to correct CEO’s name in paragraph 6)

Reporting by Shradha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Maju Samuel