March 12, 2018 1:46 pm
Updated: March 13, 2018 11:56 am

Veridian interested in Peterborough Distribution after Hydro One halts purchase plans

Veridian in Durham says it's still interested in acquiring Peterborough Distribution Inc.

CHEX News file

Veridian Corp. says it’s still interested in acquiring Peterborough Distribution Inc. after Hydro One ended negotiations for the utility last week.

Hydro One and the City of Peterborough entered into negotiations in 2014 for the utility with an agreed price of $105 million. But the city says talks ended abruptly last week with Hydro One walking away from the bargaining table. Hydro One says both parties couldn’t reach an agreement.

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READ MORE: Hydro One halts talks to purchase Peterborough Distribution Inc.

Veridian, an electricity distributor for Durham region, had expressed interest in PDI in 2016 but city council never allowed it to make a bid when the Hydro One offer went public.

Prior to council voting 6-5 in favour of Hydro One in December 2016, Veridian president and CEO Michael Angemeer was asked by council if his company could match the $105 million offer.

He said it couldn’t. But Verdian was never invited to make an official bid.

On Saturday, Angemeer said his company has been following the latest developments between Hydro One and PDI.

“We understand that the City and PDI are likely going to be taking some time to evaluate the impact of the Hydro One decision,” he said.

“Veridian, Whitby Hydro and our shareholders would be pleased to talk to the City and the PDI as soon as they are ready.”

Veridian and Whitby Hydro are planning a merger to form a new company. Once it receives municipal approval, Angemeer says the new company would form the fourth-largest municipally owned utility in Ontario.

Angemeer believes PDI would be a good fit for Veridian and Peterborough residents.

“Veridian has previously indicated to Peterborough City Council and PDI that we were very interested in exploring the potential opportunities that exist between Veridian and PDI,” Angemeer said.

READ MORE: Hydro One sends crews to U.S. to help restore power after brutal nor’easter

“We had indicated that there was flexibility around the structure of the transaction that would be designed to meet Peterborough’s needs. The region east of Toronto will be one of the fastest growing in the province with the completion of the 407 highway. The infrastructure needs of the region, to accommodate this growth, would be well supported by a strong local regional utility.”

Peterborough city councillors Dean Pappas and Keith Riel — who opposed the sale of PDI — want to know any financial fallout from the failed negotiations.

“I want to know how we are going to recuperate that money and certainly the employees of PDI have lived under a cloud of what was going to happen to them,” Riel said. “Certainly there has to be some sort of overture made to them and how were going to make this a better workplace.”

City staff will bring a report forward in the near future with recommendations on how to move forward.

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