On October 22, 2001, BC Gas Inc. and Westcoast Energy Inc., both of Vancouver, announced the purchase, by BC Gas from Westcoast, of the natural gas transmission and distribution business on Vancouver Island owned by a wholly owned subsidiary of Westcoast, Centra Gas British Columbia Inc., and the propane distribution business in Whistler, B.C. owned by another wholly owned subsidiary of Westcoast, Centra Gas Whistler Inc.
The combined purchase price for the shares is $280 million, plus BC Gas agreed to purchase short-term inter-company debt of approximately $70 million. In addition, debt of the Centra companies totalling approximately $300 million will remain in place. Completion of the transaction remains subject to regulatory approval.
The deal gives BC Gas control of assets on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, including 615 km of high pressure transmission lines and 3,000 km of distribution lines to approximately 61,200 residential customers and 8,000 commercial customers, plus seven pulp and paper mills on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. The main transmission line runs under the Strait of Georgia to deliver natural gas from the mainland of British Columbia to Vancouver Island. Centra Gas Whistler Inc. delivers piped propane to more than 2,000 customers in Whistler.
Westcoast was represented by in-house counsel, Curt Bernardi, and by a team from Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy, which included Mitchell Gropper, Q.C., Herb Dodd, Maria McKenzie, Geoff Lewis and Brad Newby. BC Gas’s in-house counsel, Hamish Cumming, was assisted by a team from the Vancouver office of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, which included John McKercher, Cal Johnson, Ron Ezekiel, Alison Oxtoby, Jason Harris and Anne Hamilton.