Aqua America announced today that its Pennsylvania subsidiary has signed an asset purchase agreement with Cheltenham Township to purchase its wastewater system, which serves approximately 10,500 connections in Montgomery County, for $50.25 million. The agreement must be approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
The transaction will be Aqua Pennsylvania’s fourth acquisition application referred to the Pennsylvania PUC since Act 12, commonly referred to as fair market value legislation, was enacted last year. Aqua Pennsylvania has asset purchase agreements with the 2,100-customer New Garden Township wastewater system in Chester County and the 5,400-customer Limerick Township wastewater system in Montgomery County. The company also has an agreement, signed in December 2017, with East Bradford Township in Chester County to purchase its 1,200-customer wastewater collection system. Aqua already provides water service to East Bradford, as it does with Cheltenham.
These four systems, including Cheltenham, total more than 19,000 wastewater connections and would nearly double Aqua Pennsylvania’s current 22,000-customer wastewater operation.
The new law encourages a consolidation of the fragmented industry for the benefit of customers, the environment, and local governments. This transaction will benefit customers by leveraging compliance expertise, purchasing power gained through economies of scale and operational efficiencies to ultimately benefit service to our customers at affordable rates.
“We are pleased with the momentum we are gaining to reach agreements with municipal systems,” said Aqua America Chairman and CEO Christopher Franklin. “Act 12 is having its intended impact, allowing municipalities to be compensated for the fair value of their water and wastewater assets and enabling utility professionals to bring expertise to systems in need.”
Aqua Pennsylvania President Marc Lucca says his team is ready to work with the Cheltenham community on making needed system improvements.
“As with our pending agreements with New Garden, East Bradford and Limerick, the Aqua Pennsylvania team is looking forward to assuming Cheltenham’s sewer utility responsibilities so the township can direct its attention and capital to other priorities,” said Lucca. “We are anxious to begin the work necessary to help the township meet the requirements of an outstanding Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection consent order, specifically related to inflow and infiltration issues there.”
In total, Aqua has plans to spend nearly $50 million over the next 10 years to improve Cheltenham’s wastewater system.
Aqua America is one of the largest U.S.-based, publicly traded water utilities and serves nearly 3 million people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana and Virginia. Aqua America is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WTR. Visit AquaAmerica.com for more information.
This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 including, among others: the company’s ability to successfully close the acquisition of the wastewater systems noted in this release. There are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements including: general economic business conditions, the successful integration of the customers and the facilities, the success of the company’s growth efforts including its ability to utilize Act 12, and other factors discussed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K, which is on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. For more information regarding risks and uncertainties associated with Aqua America's business, please refer to Aqua America's annual, quarterly and other SEC filings. Aqua America is not under any obligation — and expressly disclaims any such obligation — to update or alter its forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.