HALLOWELL, Maine — Maine regulators Tuesday approved the sale of Bangor Gas parent company Gas Natural Inc. to a Cayman Island investment fund recently purchased by the New York investment firm Blackrock Inc.
In approving the deal, the Maine Public Utilities Commission found it would not impact Bangor Gas’ day-to-day operations or have a negative impact on customers. They added that it would give Bangor Gas access to investment dollars to expand service to new areas, make upgrades and replace outdated infrastructure.
The deal will make Gas Natural Inc. a subsidiary of a Cayman Island-based fund managed by First Reserve Energy Infrastructure Funds. The New York-based Blackrock purchased First Reserve earlier this month.
Regulators approved the deal with certain conditions negotiated by the Office of the Public Advocate, which represents utility customers. That includes a requirement that Bangor Gas customers don’t foot the bill for any costs connected to those transactions.
The approval also will require the company to share details about the overhead costs it shares with affiliated companies, seeking to ensure the company does not shift disproportionate costs onto Maine customers.
The deal puts the publicly traded Gas Natural Inc. back under ownership of a private company, meaning the parent company will no longer issue public financial disclosures.
The deal won approval from Gas Natural shareholders in December and requires the approval of regulators in Montana, North Carolina and Ohio. Gas Natural has about 68,600 customers
Gas Natural Inc. said in December that it expected the sale to First Reserve to close in the second half of 2017.