Shareholders Agree to Support Company in Arizona Litigation
Against ONEOK and Southern Union
LAS VEGAS, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwest Gas Corporation (NYSE: SWX)
announced today that the United States District Court for the Southern
District of California gave its final approval of a settlement with the lead
shareholder representatives in the California shareholder class action
lawsuit. The settlement covers those who purchased or held Southwest stock at
any time during the period from December 14, 1998 though January 21, 2000.
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010823/SWXLOGO )
Among the settlement terms, Southwest shareholders will receive
$22.0 million if Southwest enters into a business combination with a third
party within 36 months; 50% of the first $54.0 million of any recovery from
either Southern Union Company (NYSE: SUG) or ONEOK, Inc. (NYSE: OKE) in
litigation currently pending in Phoenix, Arizona Federal District Court
("Arizona litigation"); or $9.5 million if neither of first two happens within
Also among the terms, Southwest's shareholders have agreed to support the
company in the Arizona Litigation against Southern Union and ONEOK. In the
Arizona Litigation, Southwest seeks recovery of damages suffered as a result
of the failure of the ONEOK merger, which Southwest alleges was caused by the
wrongful conduct of Southern Union and ONEOK.
Noting that the Company received no objections to the settlement after
sending over 62,000 shareholder notices, Southwest Chairman Thomas Hartley
said, "We are pleased to have the shareholder class action lawsuit behind us,
and, together with our shareholders, look forward to aggressively pursuing a
favorable resolution of the pending Arizona litigation. We firmly believe
that of the three companies involved in this litigation, Southwest is the only
one that has ascertainable damages, as the actions of Southern Union and ONEOK
caused the cancellation of the purchase of Southwest by ONEOK at a price of
$30 per share."
The federal judge overseeing the Arizona litigation has dismissed all
racketeering claims against Southwest, its officers, and directors, and many
additional claims against individual officers and directors of the company.
On August 17, 2001, the judge vacated the previously scheduled trial date of
November 13, 2001, and has set a new trial date of May 28, 2002.
Southwest Gas Corporation provides natural gas to about 1,337,000
customers in Arizona, Nevada, and California. Its service territories are
centered in the fastest-growing region of the country.
This report contains statements which constitute "forward-looking
statements" within the meaning of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
(Reform Act). All such forward-looking statements are intended to be subject
to the safe harbor protection provided by the Reform Act. A number of
important factors affecting the business and financial results of the Company
could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated in the
forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to,
the impact of weather variations on customer usage, natural gas prices, the
effects of regulation/deregulation, the timing and amount of rate relief,
changes in capital requirements and funding, resolution of the pending
litigation, acquisitions, and competition.
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SOURCE Southwest Gas Corporation
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Web site: http: //www.southwestgas.com
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CONTACT: Thomas Sheets of Southwest Gas, +1-702-876-7337
CAPTION: SWXLOGO SOUTHWEST GAS CORPORATION LOGO Southwest Gas Corporation logo. (PRNewsFoto)[TC] LAS VEGAS, NV USA 08/23/2001