Fortis inches forward in CH Energy deal

Fortis Inc. is a step closer to completing its acquisition of CH Energy Group Inc. following the expiration of an antitrust waiting period, the companies said Thursday.

Fortis said in February that it planned to buy CH Energy in a roughly $1.5 billion deal that marked the Canadian utility's entry into the regulated U.S. electric and gas distribution market.

CH Energy is the parent company of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp., a regulated transmission and distribution utility serving electric and natural gas customers in New York's Mid-Hudson River Valley. Under terms of the agreement, Fortis will pay CH Energy Group shareholders $65 per share, an 11 percent premium over the utility company's closing share price before the deal was announced.

CH Energy's shareholders voted in favor of the deal in June and federal regulators have approved it. The companies said Thursday the waiting period required under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act has expired.

The deal still must be reviewed by the New York State Public Service Commission before it can move forward.

CH Energy Group's shares rose 7 cents to close at $65.41.