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WR to Offer 8M Shares of Common Stock

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Westar Energy, Inc. has announced its plan to issue 8 million shares of its common stock and utilize the net proceeds to repay short-term debt obligations under its commercial paper program, finance current projects and fund for general corporate purposes. The issuance of common stock is subject to market conditions.

Per the conditions of the issuance, the underwriters can purchase up to an additional 1.2 million shares of common stock within a period of one month to cover over allotments, if any.

As of Jun 30, 2013, Westar Energy had approximately 127.9 million shares of diluted common stock outstanding. With the current offering, the company’s number of shares will increase to roughly 135.9 million.

It is evident from Westar Energy’s capital spending program that the company currently intends to upgrade its utility assets and add new ones. In Aug 2013, the company received a route approval from the Kansas Corporation Commission to execute a transmission project. Westar Energy will invest $66 million in this venture.

Westar Energy follows the practice of issuing new shares and uses the net proceeds to repay its outstanding short-term debts while the remaining is utilized for general corporate purposes. In Nov 2010, the company issued 7 million shares of its common stock.

During the six months ended Jun 30, 2013, Westar Energy paid a cash dividend of $80.9 million to its shareholders. As of Sep 23, 2013, the company reported annual dividend yield of 4.4%, higher than the industry average of 2%. This will make the company attractive to the investors.

Westar Energy currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, other stocks in the industry that are worth considering include Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P. (BIP - Free Report) , Huaneng Power International, Inc. (HNP - Free Report) and IdaCorp, Inc. (IDA - Free Report) , each with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP (BIP) - free report >>

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