Enterprise Products to buy Navitas for $3.3 bln to boost natural gas pipeline network

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The headquarters of energy pipeline operator Enterprise Products Partners in Houston, Texas, U.S. September 27, 2020. REUTERS/Gary McWilliams

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Jan 10 (Reuters) - Pipeline operator Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPD.N) said on Monday it would buy Warburg Pincus-owned Navitas Midstream for $3.25 billion in cash, entering the active Midland basin to tap into increased demand for natural gas infrastructure.

Woodlands, Texas-based Navitas owns a network of around 1,750 miles of natural gas pipelines in the Midland portion of the Permian basin, the region of Texas and New Mexico considered the heart of the U.S. shale industry.

The deal comes as a surge in demand and supply crunches have pushed natural gas prices to record highs. Front-month U.S. gas futures were trading around $4.09 on Monday, over 60% higher than from the start of 2021.

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Enterprise currently owns only some downstream pipelines in the Midland basin, Chief Executive Officer Jim Teague said in a statement.

Navitas is expected to reach one billion cubic feet per day of cryogenic natural gas processing capacity once it completes its Leiker plant in Texas in the first quarter of 2022, during which Enterprise also plans to close the deal.

The acquisition will be immediately accretive to Enterprise's distributable cash flow per unit, Teague said, adding that it would also support additional returns to shareholders through dividends and buybacks.

Based on the current outlook for commodity prices, Enterprise expects the deal to add around 18 cents to 22 cents per unit to its distributable cash flow in 2023.

Jefferies LLC served as financial advisor to Navitas on the sale. Kirkland & Ellis served as its legal advisor.

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Reporting by Shariq Khan; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.

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