Macquarie Sells Interest In Local Power Business

NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Macquarie Infrastructure Co., which operates airport services and energy terminal businesses, said Monday it has agreed to sell just under half its interest in an energy business that serves Chicago and Las Vegas for $29.5 million.

Macquarie, the U.S. unit of Australia's Macquarie Group, will sell a 49.99 percent interest in its district energy business, Thermal Chicago, to an affiliate of The John Hancock Life Insurance Co.

Macquarie Infrastructure, through its refining entity MDE Holdings LLC, will remain the managing member of the company that owns the district energy business.

The district energy business includes five cooling plants in downtown Chicago and a standalone facility outside of the central business district that produce chilled water for use in cooling approximately 100 high rise buildings.

It also includes a separate Las Vegas facility that provides cold and hot water for cooling and heating to a number of Las Vegas buildings.

CEO James Hooke said selling a non-controlling interest will generate cash that will help eliminate long-term holding company debt and brings the company closer to resuming distributions to shareholders.

It expects the deal to close before the end of the first quarter of 2010.

Shares rose 61 cents, or 6.7 percent, to $9.68 in morning trading.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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