Duke Energy

(DUK) - Get Report

agreed to sell its commercial marketing and trading business to Belgium's Fortis, a financial services group, for a base price of roughly $210 million.

Fortis will also pay an amount equal to the value of the portfolio of contracts and net working capital associated with the business. Both will be determined later.

Duke expects pretax cash proceeds from the sale of at least $350 million. As a result of the transaction, Duke's earnings will probably be reduced by 3 cents to 5 cents a share.

Fortis will buy Cinergy Marketing and Trading and Cinergy Canada, as well as the contracts they manage. "The decision to exit the commercial marketing and trading business is another step in our ongoing effort to restructure the risk profile of Duke Energy and to focus our attention on businesses that can be expected to contribute steady, stable earnings and dividend growth," said James Rogers, Duke's president and CEO.

Shares of Duke, based in Charlotte, N.C., were down 1 cent to $28.51.