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Duke, Progress Merge to Form Largest U.S. Utility

Company will have $37 billion market capitalization and 7.1 million electric customers

Duke Energy and Progress Energy announced on Jan. 10 an all-stock merger worth nearly $14 billion, saying it would create the largest utility in the United States.

The combined company, to be called Duke Energy, will be the country's largest power provider, with $37 billion in market capitalization and a base of 7.1 million electric customers, the North Carolina companies said.

"Our industry is entering a building phase where we must invest in an array of new technologies to reduce our environmental footprints and become more efficient," said Jim Rogers, chief executive of Duke Energy.

"By merging our companies, we can do that more economically for our customers, improve shareholder value and continue to grow."

Under the deal, Duke will exchange around 2.6 of its shares for each share of Progress Energy. Based on Duke Energy's closing share price Friday, Progress Energy shareholders would receive a value of $46.48 per share, or $13.7 billion in total equity value.

Duke Energy also will assume approximately $12.2 billion in Progress Energy debt.

The new company, valued at $65 billion, would have the largest fleet of regulated nuclear power plants in the country, serving customers with a mix of coal, nuclear, natural gas, oil and renewable resources, the firm said.

Its 7.1 million electric customers are in six states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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