NiSource on Target to Deliver Merger Results Chairman Highlights Achievements, Growth Plans at Annual Shareholder Meeting

Apr 11, 2001, 01:00 ET from NiSource Inc.

    CHARLESTON, W.Va., April 11 /PRNewswire/ -- NiSource Inc. (NYSE:   NI)
 Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Gary L. Neale told
 shareholders at the company's annual meeting here today that NiSource's merger
 with Columbia Energy Group remains on track to add to the company's earnings
 in 2001.  The NiSource-Columbia merger was completed Nov. 1, 2000.
     "We're focused on steadily increasing earnings per share.  As we've said
 before, the merger will be accretive in 2001," Neale said.  "We are on track
 to realize net merger savings of approximately $100 million in 2001 from the
 elimination of duplicate corporate and administrative functions and from
 greater efficiencies in operations, business processes and systems."
     With merger-integration costs behind it, permanent financing for the
 merger in place and a strong 2000 performance, NiSource is focused on building
 long-term shareholder value.  By bringing together the company's assets,
 NiSource can create total energy solutions with new dimensions of value for
 its 3.6 million gas and electric customers, Neale said.
     "NiSource now has industry-leading scale as the third-largest natural gas
 distributor in the U.S. and the largest east of the Rocky Mountains...With
 distribution operations aligned with our exploration and production, gas
 transmission and storage assets, NiSource is the most vertically integrated
 gas company in the country," he said.  "Our merger with Columbia has enabled
 us to achieve our strategic goal of diversifying our earnings and growth
 profile.  Before the merger, NiSource derived one-third of its revenues from
 natural gas operations and two-thirds from electric.  By the end of 2001, two-
 thirds will be derived from natural gas and one-third from electric."
     Natural gas is the fuel of the future, Neale said.  A growing emphasis on
 cleaner, more reliable energy is stimulating demand for gas-fired power
 generation and new energy technologies, driving gas consumption and
 distributing usage year round.  These dynamics will increase demand for
 natural gas by 25 percent before the end of this decade, he explained.
     "NiSource is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this changing energy
 market, and geography is key.  We have the right assets in the best market in
 the U.S.," he said.
     NiSource's vertically integrated gas assets are strategically located in
 the high-demand energy corridor stretching from the Gulf of Mexico through the
 Midwest to New England.  This corridor represents 30 percent of the nation's
 population and 40 percent of its energy consumption.
     The company is focused on taking advantage of the opportunities within its
 geographic footprint, Neale said.  These opportunities include:
 
     * Trading and marketing around the company's existing assets and customer
       base;
     * Growth in gas-fired power generation within the company's market area;
     * A large industrial customer base that provides multiple new gas-fueled
       cogeneration opportunities within the customers' plants; and
     * The emerging market for distributed generation.
 
     "We must stay flexible in today's changing energy market, and NiSource is
 a leader in developing technologies that offer customers true energy choice,"
 Neale said.
     Rising demand, overloaded power transmission networks and customer
 requirements for greater power reliability and quality are driving the demand
 for new energy solutions.  Distributed generation units, including
 microturbines and fuel cells, run on natural gas at or near the point of
 consumption.  They offer a non-traditional approach to meeting the demands of
 a market-driven, customer-oriented economy in which peak power demand has
 risen 25 percent since 1990, while capacity has increased only six percent.
     "Distributed generation units are to large-scale power plants what
 personal computers were to large mainframe computers.  We view distributed
 generation as the wave of the future.  It will be a significant part of the
 U.S. energy mix, and gas companies will be winners," Neale said.
     Anticipating dramatic changes in the energy marketplace, NiSource five
 years ago set a strategy to grow its domestic energy business within the
 nation's key energy market.  The NiSource-Columbia merger has served to
 transform NiSource from a regional player in the industry to a super-regional
 powerhouse, he said.
     "At last year's annual meeting I talked about creating a new company.
 Since then, we completed our merger integration and have built the momentum to
 create long-term shareholder value by being a leader in our chosen markets,"
 Neale said.
     NiSource held its annual meeting in Charleston, where the company's
 Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. and Columbia Natural Resources have
 headquarters and major operations.
     At the meeting today, shareholders also approved the re-election of Steven
 C. Beering, Dennis E. Foster, James T. Morris and Carolyn Y. Woo as directors
 of the company, each for a term of three years that will expire in 2004.
     Beering, president emeritus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.,
 has been a NiSource director since 1986.  Foster, vice chairman of ALLTEL
 Corp., Little Rock, Ark. until his retirement in 2000, has served as a
 NiSource director since 1999.  Morris, chairman and chief executive officer of
 IWC Resources Corp., Indianapolis, has been a NiSource director since 1997.
 Woo has served as a NiSource director since 1997.  She is the Martin J. Gillen
 Dean and the Ray and Milann Siegfried Professor of Management at Mendoza
 College of Business, University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
     Neale's presentation to shareholders will be available on the company's
 Web site on Thursday, April 12.
     NiSource is a holding company with headquarters in Merrillville, Ind.,
 whose operating companies engage in virtually all phases of the natural gas
 business from exploration and production to transmission, storage and
 distribution, as well as electric generation, transmission and distribution.
 NiSource companies serve a high-growth energy corridor from the Gulf of Mexico
 to the Midwest to New England.  More information about the company is
 available on the Internet at www.nisource.com .
 
 

SOURCE NiSource Inc.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va., April 11 /PRNewswire/ -- NiSource Inc. (NYSE:   NI)
 Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Gary L. Neale told
 shareholders at the company's annual meeting here today that NiSource's merger
 with Columbia Energy Group remains on track to add to the company's earnings
 in 2001.  The NiSource-Columbia merger was completed Nov. 1, 2000.
     "We're focused on steadily increasing earnings per share.  As we've said
 before, the merger will be accretive in 2001," Neale said.  "We are on track
 to realize net merger savings of approximately $100 million in 2001 from the
 elimination of duplicate corporate and administrative functions and from
 greater efficiencies in operations, business processes and systems."
     With merger-integration costs behind it, permanent financing for the
 merger in place and a strong 2000 performance, NiSource is focused on building
 long-term shareholder value.  By bringing together the company's assets,
 NiSource can create total energy solutions with new dimensions of value for
 its 3.6 million gas and electric customers, Neale said.
     "NiSource now has industry-leading scale as the third-largest natural gas
 distributor in the U.S. and the largest east of the Rocky Mountains...With
 distribution operations aligned with our exploration and production, gas
 transmission and storage assets, NiSource is the most vertically integrated
 gas company in the country," he said.  "Our merger with Columbia has enabled
 us to achieve our strategic goal of diversifying our earnings and growth
 profile.  Before the merger, NiSource derived one-third of its revenues from
 natural gas operations and two-thirds from electric.  By the end of 2001, two-
 thirds will be derived from natural gas and one-third from electric."
     Natural gas is the fuel of the future, Neale said.  A growing emphasis on
 cleaner, more reliable energy is stimulating demand for gas-fired power
 generation and new energy technologies, driving gas consumption and
 distributing usage year round.  These dynamics will increase demand for
 natural gas by 25 percent before the end of this decade, he explained.
     "NiSource is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this changing energy
 market, and geography is key.  We have the right assets in the best market in
 the U.S.," he said.
     NiSource's vertically integrated gas assets are strategically located in
 the high-demand energy corridor stretching from the Gulf of Mexico through the
 Midwest to New England.  This corridor represents 30 percent of the nation's
 population and 40 percent of its energy consumption.
     The company is focused on taking advantage of the opportunities within its
 geographic footprint, Neale said.  These opportunities include:
 
     * Trading and marketing around the company's existing assets and customer
       base;
     * Growth in gas-fired power generation within the company's market area;
     * A large industrial customer base that provides multiple new gas-fueled
       cogeneration opportunities within the customers' plants; and
     * The emerging market for distributed generation.
 
     "We must stay flexible in today's changing energy market, and NiSource is
 a leader in developing technologies that offer customers true energy choice,"
 Neale said.
     Rising demand, overloaded power transmission networks and customer
 requirements for greater power reliability and quality are driving the demand
 for new energy solutions.  Distributed generation units, including
 microturbines and fuel cells, run on natural gas at or near the point of
 consumption.  They offer a non-traditional approach to meeting the demands of
 a market-driven, customer-oriented economy in which peak power demand has
 risen 25 percent since 1990, while capacity has increased only six percent.
     "Distributed generation units are to large-scale power plants what
 personal computers were to large mainframe computers.  We view distributed
 generation as the wave of the future.  It will be a significant part of the
 U.S. energy mix, and gas companies will be winners," Neale said.
     Anticipating dramatic changes in the energy marketplace, NiSource five
 years ago set a strategy to grow its domestic energy business within the
 nation's key energy market.  The NiSource-Columbia merger has served to
 transform NiSource from a regional player in the industry to a super-regional
 powerhouse, he said.
     "At last year's annual meeting I talked about creating a new company.
 Since then, we completed our merger integration and have built the momentum to
 create long-term shareholder value by being a leader in our chosen markets,"
 Neale said.
     NiSource held its annual meeting in Charleston, where the company's
 Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. and Columbia Natural Resources have
 headquarters and major operations.
     At the meeting today, shareholders also approved the re-election of Steven
 C. Beering, Dennis E. Foster, James T. Morris and Carolyn Y. Woo as directors
 of the company, each for a term of three years that will expire in 2004.
     Beering, president emeritus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.,
 has been a NiSource director since 1986.  Foster, vice chairman of ALLTEL
 Corp., Little Rock, Ark. until his retirement in 2000, has served as a
 NiSource director since 1999.  Morris, chairman and chief executive officer of
 IWC Resources Corp., Indianapolis, has been a NiSource director since 1997.
 Woo has served as a NiSource director since 1997.  She is the Martin J. Gillen
 Dean and the Ray and Milann Siegfried Professor of Management at Mendoza
 College of Business, University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
     Neale's presentation to shareholders will be available on the company's
 Web site on Thursday, April 12.
     NiSource is a holding company with headquarters in Merrillville, Ind.,
 whose operating companies engage in virtually all phases of the natural gas
 business from exploration and production to transmission, storage and
 distribution, as well as electric generation, transmission and distribution.
 NiSource companies serve a high-growth energy corridor from the Gulf of Mexico
 to the Midwest to New England.  More information about the company is
 available on the Internet at www.nisource.com .
 
 SOURCE  NiSource Inc.