LAS VEGAS, Aug. 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Southwest Gas Corporation
(NYSE: SWX) announced today that the Company has reached a definitive
settlement agreement with Southern Union Company (NYSE: SUG), resolving the
lawsuit between the parties in the United States District Court for the
District of Arizona. The litigation related to the terminated acquisition of
Southwest by ONEOK, Inc. in early 2000 (NYSE: OKE) and the rejection of
competing offers from Southern Union in 1999.
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010823/SWXLOGO )
Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Southwest will pay Southern Union
$17.5 million and both companies will be released from all remaining legal
claims between the parties. Southern Union's claims against Southwest's Chief
Executive Officer, Michael O. Maffie, were also resolved as part of the
settlement. Southwest will take a one-time, non-recurring charge of
$17.5 million, or approximately $0.33 per share, in the second quarter of
2002 to cover the settlement costs.
Thomas Hartley, Southwest's Chairman of the Board, stated, "Southwest is
pleased to finally resolve our legal disputes with Southern Union. Three
years of intense litigation have gone by since Southern Union Company filed
its lawsuit against Southwest and several of its officers and directors.
Southern Union claimed damages of $750 million at that time. In settling this
matter now, Southwest determined that reasonable business judgment called for
resolution of the remaining Southern Union claims. Our management team will
now have more time to focus our efforts on the fastest growing natural gas
distribution company in the United States, Southwest Gas. We strongly believe
that this settlement is in the best interests of the Company, our
shareholders, our employees and our customers."
Southwest will continue to seek appropriate damages in its remaining
breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith, fraud and fraud
in the inducement claims against ONEOK. Trial of Southwest's claims against
ONEOK is scheduled to commence in Phoenix on October 15, 2002.
Southwest Gas provides natural gas service to nearly 1.4 million homes and
businesses in Arizona, California and Nevada. 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
Web site: http: //www.swgas.com
Photo: NewsCom: http: //www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010823/SWXLOGO AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org PRN Photo Desk, +1-888-776-6555 or +1-212-782-2840
CONTACT: Michael J. O'Connor, +1-602-262-5889; or Thomas R. Sheets, +1-702-876-7337, both for Southwest Gas Corporation
CAPTION: SWXLOGO SOUTHWEST GAS CORPORATION LOGO Southwest Gas Corporation logo. (PRNewsFoto)[TC] LAS VEGAS, NV USA 08/23/2001