Ullico Infrastructure Fund is expanding its long-standing partnership with D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments with a $250 million long-term financing facility. This investment will fund development and construction of utility scale, union-built renewable energy projects.
Hearthstone Holdings, Inc. (“Hearthstone”), a portfolio company of Ullico Infrastructure Fund (“UIF”) announced on January 3, 2023 that its subsidiary, Hope Gas, Inc. (“Hope Gas”), has entered into an agreement with an affiliate of Essential Utilities Inc. (“Essential”, NYSE: WTRG) to acquire 100% of the membership interests in Peoples Gas WV LLC (“Peoples Gas WV”), a regulated gas distribution company located in West Virginia.
“We are excited about the addition of Peoples Gas WV. Given its contiguous service territory with our Hope Gas operations, Peoples Gas WV is a logical addition which allows us to expand our footprint and grow our business in West Virginia,” said Rohit Syal, Head of Acquisitions for UIF. “Our investment in Peoples Gas WV will improve the scale of our Hope Gas operations and further illustrates our commitment to our investment philosophy based on long term ownership, responsible labor policies and a commitment to local economic development,” said Sonia Axter, Head of Asset Management for UIF.
Founded in 1898, with its new corporate headquarters in Morgantown, Hope Gas is already one of the largest local natural gas companies in West Virginia and is building its business plan around growth and community partnerships throughout the state. Upon closing, the resulting company will serve approximately 125,000 natural gas customers and will provide hundreds of employees with family sustaining jobs. Hope Gas will also indirectly support thousands of more jobs in the state.
“We are excited to grow our business and continue to invest in building the future of West Virginia, its communities, and the people we serve,” said Morgan O’Brien, CEO of Hope Gas. “We are working toward our vision to expand our footprint, including to underserved communities and drive economic growth. We are working to provide and enhance West Virginia’s rich energy supply to help attract other businesses to the state. I look forward to welcoming the employees of Peoples Gas WV to our growing family at Hope Gas. They will be an integral part of continuing to provide the highest level of service to our customers.”
“We are excited to grow the unionized work force of Hope Gas and provide essential services to more people in the great state of West Virginia,” said Edward M. Smith, President and CEO of Ullico Inc. (“Ullico”).
Hope Gas is a subsidiary of Hearthstone, a holding company that owns regulated natural gas and water distribution utilities in West Virginia, Arizona, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio. In September 2022, Hearthstone finalized the acquisition of Hope Gas from Dominion Energy. Hearthstone’s vision for Hope Gas is to be a leader in the energy industry in the Mountain State and to empower and improve communities through the safe delivery of local, abundant, and reliable energy. Hearthstone’s investment in West Virginia includes establishing its company headquarters in Morgantown, WV.
The sale is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval from the Public Service Commission of West Virginia.
The Ullico Inc. family of companies provides insurance and investment solutions for labor organizations, union employers, institutional investors, and union members. Founded over 95 years ago, the company takes a proactive approach to anticipating labor’s needs, developing innovative financial and risk solutions, and delivering value to our clients. Ullico’s products are tailored to promote financial security and stability for American workers.
Ullico Infrastructure Fund (UIF), founded in 2010, was established to assist in the construction, maintenance, and refurbishment of America’s infrastructure. UIF provides institutional investors with access to core and core+ infrastructure investments that deliver long-dated, low-volatility, and inflation-linked cash flows. As an open-ended fund with no terminal date, UIF makes long-term investments in U.S. and Canada-based infrastructure businesses that provide essential services to communities, governments, and corporations. As of December 31, 2022, UIF currently has approximately $5 billion in investor commitments on behalf of over 200 investors, with 23 portfolio investments across power, utilities, energy, transportation and digital infrastructure sub-sectors.
The Ullico Inc. family of companies includes The Union Labor Life Insurance Company; Ullico Casualty Group, LLC.; Ullico Investment Company, LLC.; and Ullico Investment Advisors, Inc. For additional information, visit www.ullico.com.
UIF (or the “Fund”) is managed by Ullico Investment Advisors, Inc. (“UIA”) and is sold through Ullico Investment Company, LLC (Member FINRA/SIPC), both subsidiaries of Ullico Inc. UIA is a registered investment adviser with the SEC under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. UIF will only be sold to “accredited investors” as that term is defined in Regulation D of the Securities Act of 1933. Investment in infrastructure is speculative, not suitable for all investors, and should be undertaken only by experienced and sophisticated investors who are willing to bear the high risks of such an investment, which include, but are not limited to, lack of liquidity, restrictions on transferring ownership to the Fund, absence of information regarding valuation and pricing, and high fees and expenses. Potential investors in the Fund should carefully read the Confidential Private Placement Memorandum for a description of the potential risks associated with investment in the Fund.
Hearthstone is a holding company that owns natural gas and water distribution utilities across 8 states. The company provides service to more than 212,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the communities it serves. Hearthstone currently operates natural gas utilities in Indiana, Maine, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia; and water and wastewater utilities in Arizona, and Michigan. The company also provides natural gas production and natural gas marketing through its subsidiary companies. Hearthstone’s growth strategy is built on being a trusted member of the communities it serves, providing its customers with safe, reliable and cost-effective utility service. Learn more at hearthstonecompany.com.
About Hope Gas
Hope Gas is a Local Distribution Company (“LDC”) that proudly provides gas service to approximately 112,000 residential, industrial, and commercial customers in thirty-five West Virginia counties. Hope Gas monitors and maintains more than 3,200 miles of distribution pipeline and approximately 2,400 miles of gathering lines that safely deliver West Virginia natural gas to many homes and commercial or industrial sites. Hope Gas currently employs approximately 350 employees in the beautiful Mountain State with the sole purpose of staying true to the company’s mission and vision in West Virginia.
Essential Utilities, Inc. (NYSE:WTRG) delivers safe, clean, reliable services that improve quality of life for individuals, families, and entire communities. With a focus on water, wastewater and natural gas, Essential is committed to sustainable growth, operational excellence, a superior customer experience, and premier employer status. We are advocates for the communities we serve and are outstanding stewards of natural lands, protecting more than 7,600 acres of forests and other habitats throughout our footprint.