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Enbridge (ENB) to Sell New Brunswick Gas Distribution Unit

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Enbridge Inc.’s (ENB - Free Report) affiliates have inked an agreement related to the sale of Enbridge Gas New Brunswick gas distribution business to Liberty Utilities (Canada) for C$331 million ($248.56 million).

The transaction closure is expected in 2019 and subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

In 1999, Enbridge inked an agreement with the New Brunswick provincial government related to the distribution of gas to residential, commercial and industrial customers in the region.

Within the first 20 years of operations, the company projected to secure 71,000 customers for the local retail gas unit. However, it could assemble only 12,000 customers.

The sale is in sync with the company’s strategy of focusing on increasing and developing business in core markets. The transaction is not expected to have any significant impact on daily operations as Enbridge will work with Liberty Utilities to ensure smooth transition, which is anticipated to take several months.

Enbridge Gas New Brunswick operates and maintains more than 1,200 kilometers of natural gas distribution pipeline in 12 communities in southern New Brunswick and the northeastern United States. The unit serves 12,000 customers. Natural gas from the Nova Scotia is distributed by Enbridge through the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline. The company will continue to maintain ownership interest in the pipeline, which serves markets in Atlantic Canada, including New Brunswick and the northeastern United States.

Founded in 2001, Liberty Utilities is a subsidiary of Canadian firm Algonquin Power and Utilities.

The announcement follows Enbridge’s sale of natural gas gathering and processing assets to Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P. (BIP - Free Report) and institutional partners for $3.27 billion. The assets to be divested included 19 natural gas processing facilities with a total operating processing capacity of 3.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) along with 3,550 kilometers of gathering pipelines.

Zacks Rank &Key Picks

Currently, Enbridge carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A few better-ranked players in the same sector are Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (EPD - Free Report) and SunCoke Energy, Inc (SXC - Free Report) , each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Headquartered in Houston, TX, Enterprise Products Partners is among the leading midstream energy players in North America. It pulled off an average positive earnings surprise of 9.3% in the last four quarters.

SunCoke acquires, owns and operates the coke making and coal mining operations. The company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 302.6% in the last four quarters.

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