Any day now Protection One sale could get the go-ahead

Thursday, February 12, 2004

February 12, 2004

TOPEKA, Kan. - Westar Energy could hear within a matter of days whether utility regulators will give the green light to move forward on its sale of Protection One to a New York-based investment company.

Last week staff for the Kansas Corporation Commission recommended approval of the sale in a report filed with the commission. It is now up the utility’s three commissioners to issue their decision, with an expectation that one could come before the middle of this month.

The sale of Protection One to the Quadrangle Group would provide Westar with at least $120 million in cash as it looks to pay off a $218 million line of credit Protection One accrued over the years. But to make up a $97 million shortfall, the staff for the KCC recommends that Westar issue stock to raise additional funds.

“The commission has been adamant that rate payers should not be left holding the bag for Protection One.”

Karla Olsen, a spokesperson for Westar, said the company is waiting for the recommendation from utility commissioners before issuing any comment. She said the transaction “is proceeding as we had hoped.”