Duke Energy will likely be looking to buy more electric utilities after it has completed its $26 billion merger with Progress Energy.
Duke CEO Jim Rogers, who will be executive chairman of the merged company, described the corporate strategy as part of a 13-minute filmed interview with the Financial Times newspaper. Rogers made the comments during a visit to New York to promote Charlotte and the city's emerging energy cluster.
Charlotte-based Duke subsequently filed the Times' article with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as part of its ongoing disclosure of information pertinent to the pending merger, which is expected to close at the end of this year. The two North Carolina companies announced their union in January and plan to make their first regualtory filings this month.
"We'll be in a stronger position to continue the consolidation, which I think is inevitable in a very fragmented market in the U.S.," Rogers said. "As you think about how this industry has consolidated over the last 20 years, it continues."
Rogers told the British newspaper that talk of future acquisition is premature, but noted that post-merger, Duke will be in a stronger position to continue expanding. The Duke-Progress combination will create the nation's largest electric utility with 7.1 million customers and a market capitalization of about $38 billion.
The CEO of the combined company will be Bill Johnson, currently chief executive at Raleigh-based Progress. Rogers would function as Johnson's strategic advisor, but final decisions would rest with the board of directors.
Rogers added that Duke would likely look for further acquisition prospects among regulated utilities in the Southeast. Rogers didn't identify potential targets, but regional utilities include the utility subsidiaries operated by Southern Co., and Scana Corp.
"We're really focused on primarily the regulated utilities," Rogers said. "We're not necessarily focused on utilities that are operating in competitive markets ... and that's a narrower universe in our region of the country."