Approximately 90% of the existing storage capacity at Tres Palacios is under firm storage contracts; and Inergy expects to enter into firm storage contracts for the capacity scheduled to be placed into service in the fourth quarter, consistent with its strategy of delivering stable, predictable cash flows for unitholders. Inergy expects the Tres Palacios acquisition to be immediately accretive to distributable cash flow per common unit of Inergy, L.P.
The Tres Palacios acquisition creates a significant additional gas storage footprint to Inergy’s existing platform and creates the largest independent natural gas storage provider in the United States. In addition to the approximate 38.4 Bcf of storage capacity (Caverns 1, 2 and 3), Tres Palacios provides Inergy attractive future expansion opportunities on the Markham salt dome. If fully developed, the Markham salt dome has the capacity to support in excess of 150 Bcf of natural gas storage capacity, subject to market demand. “The Tres Palacios facility is well positioned to supply the large daily needs of the Texas natural gas fired power generation market as well as leverage Inergy’s existing customer relationships in the natural gas storage industry,” said Bill Moler, Senior Vice President of Inergy Midstream.
To fund the acquisition, Inergy has secured a commitment letter for an underwritten $700 million bridge financing from Wells Fargo, Barclays Capital, and J.P. Morgan. The remaining consideration and transaction fees and expenses will be initially funded by borrowings on Inergy’s existing $525 million secured credit facilities. Inergy expects to permanently fund the acquisition with a combination of long-term debt and equity consistent with its goal of maintaining a strong balance sheet and liquidity position. Wells Fargo Securities, LLC acted as financial advisor to Inergy and Barclays Capital acted as financial advisor to the seller in connection with the transaction.
Completion of the transaction, which Inergy anticipates will occur within the next 60 days, is subject to approval under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions. Inergy expects that the closing of the Tres Palacios acquisition will occur prior to Inergy’s previously announced simplification transaction with Inergy Holdings, L.P., which is currently anticipated to occur during the fourth calendar quarter of 2010.