AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) and Allegheny Energy (NYSE: AYE) today issued the following statement in response to Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell's opposition to the companies' proposed merger:
"We respectfully disagree with Governor Rendell's position on our proposed merger.
The merger will create a stronger company, better positioned to deliver significant immediate and long-term benefits to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, including operating efficiencies that would result in better service reliability and prices for customers.
It is noteworthy that several groups concerned with jobs and economic growth in Pennsylvania have publicly supported the merger, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) and economic development and chambers of commerce groups, such as the Butler, Pa. County Economic Development Corp., Greater Johnstown-Cambria County Chamber of Commerce and the PA Economic Development Association.
The stronger company created by this merger provides the best opportunity for employment and economic growth in Pennsylvania. FirstEnergy has made certain commitments related to the utility workforce in Pennsylvania. The company also has delayed hiring in order to accommodate Allegheny Energy employees, and will look for ways to provide additional career opportunities.
In its merger application, FirstEnergy has committed to locate a regional headquarters in Greensburg, Pa., at the current headquarters building of Allegheny Energy. And, the company plans to work with local community colleges to establish a fourth Power Systems Institute (PSI) program in Pennsylvania. PSI is FirstEnergy's award-winning partnership to educate and train future utility workers.
Previous FirstEnergy mergers – including the 2001 transaction with another Pennsylvania company, GPU, Inc. – resulted in enhanced customer service reliability, improved safety and increased community support.
While we are disappointed that Governor Rendell does not recognize the many benefits of the FirstEnergy and Allegheny Energy merger, we will continue to work through the process to secure the needed regulatory approvals. The process remains on track. We are confident that the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PaPUC) will look at the record of the case and base a decision on the merits. The merger already has been overwhelmingly supported by both companies' shareholders, and has been approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission. We hope to receive support from the remaining commissions, including the PaPUC, so that the merger can be completed in the first half of 2011."
INFORMATION CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
In addition to historical information, this news release may contain a number of "forward-looking statements" as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as anticipate, expect, project, intend, plan, believe, and words and terms of similar substance used in connection with any discussion of future plans, actions, or events identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements relating to the proposed merger include, but are not limited to: statements about the benefits of the proposed merger involving FirstEnergy and Allegheny Energy, including future financial and operating results; FirstEnergy's and Allegheny Energy's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions; the expected timing of completion of the transaction; and other statements relating to the merger that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, expectations and projections and, as a result, are subject to risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that actual results will not materially differ from expectations. Important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. With respect to the proposed merger, these factors include, but are not limited to: the risk that FirstEnergy or Allegheny Energy may be unable to obtain governmental and regulatory approvals required for the merger, or required governmental and regulatory approvals may delay the merger or result in the imposition of conditions that could reduce the anticipated benefits from the merger or cause the parties to abandon the merger; the risk that a condition to closing of the merger may not be satisfied; the length of time necessary to consummate the proposed merger; the risk that the businesses will not be integrated successfully; the risk that the cost savings and any other synergies from the transaction may not be fully realized or may take longer to realize than expected; disruption from the transaction making it more difficult to maintain relationships with customers, employees or suppliers; the diversion of management time on merger-related issues; the effect of future regulatory or legislative actions on the companies; and the risk that the credit ratings of the combined company or its subsidiaries may be different from what the companies expect. These risks, as well as other risks associated with the merger, are more fully discussed in the joint proxy statement/prospectus that is included in the Registration Statement on Form S-4 (Registration No. 333-165640) that was filed by FirstEnergy with the SEC in connection with the merger. Additional risks and uncertainties are identified and discussed in FirstEnergy's and Allegheny Energy's reports filed with the SEC and available at the SEC's website at www.sec.gov. Forward-looking statements included in this document speak only as of the date of this document. Neither FirstEnergy nor Allegheny Energy undertakes any obligation to update its forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this document.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.