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Washington D.C. (December 1, 2021) – Ullico Inc. (“Ullico”) today announced the closing of its investment in GEP Bison Holdings, Inc., which owns 100% of the equity interest of Hearthstone Utilities, Inc. (“Hearthstone”), a holding company that owns and operates six natural gas local distribution companies across five states in the United States. Ullico acquired the interest in GEP Bison Holdings, Inc., from a fund managed by BlackRock Real Assets.
“We are pleased with the closing of Hearthstone and expansion of our presence in the regulated utility space,” said Rohit Syal, head of acquisitions for Ullico Infrastructure Fund (“UIF”). “Our investment in Hearthstone is squarely in line with our approach to seek opportunities for long-term investment in established assets with excellent local management teams across the utility, energy and transportation sectors in the United States and Canada.”
“Hearthstone provides essential services and sustainable work opportunities in the communities it serves. We hope to be long term partners in those communities and continue delivering innovative infrastructure solutions.” said Edward M. Smith, President and CEO of Ullico Inc.
The transaction was previously announced on January 27, 2021 and received regulatory approvals from the Maine Public Utilities Commission, Montana Public Service Commission, North Carolina Utilities Commission, and Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The transaction also cleared the expiration of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.
RBC Capital Markets and Milbank LLP acted as Ullico’s financial advisor and legal counsel respectively while Credit Suisse and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP acted as BlackRock’s financial advisor and legal counsel respectively.
Hearthstone serves over 83,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers across Indiana, Maine, Montana, North Carolina, and Ohio. Serving more than 30,000 customers in each of Ohio and Montana, Hearthstone is one of the largest independent natural gas distribution companies in these two states. Hearthstone distributes approximately 26 billion cubic feet of natural gas and operates approximately 3,300 miles of distribution and transmission pipelines.
For more than 90 years, Ullico has been a proud member of the labor movement, keeping union families safe and secure. In 2010, the Ullico Infrastructure Fund (UIF) was established to assist in the construction, maintenance and refurbishment of America’s infrastructure. UIF currently has over $4 billion in investor commitments on behalf of over 200 investors, with 20 portfolio investments across water, wastewater, telecommunications, electricity transmission, power generation, transportation and gas transmission sub-sectors and is exploring opportunities in all infrastructure related sub-sectors.
From insurance products that protect union members, leaders and employers, to investments in building and infrastructure projects that have created thousands of union jobs, our customers continue to trust us with protecting their families, employees and investments. The Ullico Inc. Family of Companies includes: The Union Labor Life Insurance Company; Ullico Casualty Group, LLC; Ullico Investment Company, LLC (Member FINRA/SIPC); and Ullico Investment Advisors, Inc. For additional information, visit www.ullico.com.
Ullico Infrastructure Tax-Exempt Fund, LP:
The Ullico Infrastructure Tax-Exempt Fund, LP (“UIF”) is a Delaware limited partnership designed to permit qualified tax-exempt purchasers to invest in core infrastructure investments located in the United States and Canada. The fund and the units issued will not be registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, or under state securities laws. UIF is being offered and sold in reliance on the exemption from the securities registration requirements of the Securities Act set forth in Regulation D (the “Rule”). UIF will only be sold to “accredited investors” as that term is defined under the Rule. The portfolio consists primarily of private equity and debt investments in infrastructure companies located in the United States and Canada. UIF does not have a meaningful comparison because there is no benchmark available for private infrastructure investments. The Ullico Infrastructure Tax-Exempt Fund, LP was incepted in November 2012.
Ullico Investment Advisors, Inc. (“UIA”) is a registered investment adviser with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) in accordance with the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Ullico Investment Advisors, Inc. has two majority owned subsidiaries: Ullico Infrastructure Management Company, LLC and UIA Investment Management, LLC. Both are Relying Advisers in reliance upon the SEC staff’s no-action letter to the American Bar Association dated January 18, 2012. The firm’s full list of composite and pooled fund descriptions is available upon request.