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Markets / Your Money

Aquila Raises $420 Million in Initial Offering

April 24, 2001|From Bloomberg News

Aquila Inc., the electricity and natural gas trading unit of UtiliCorp United Inc., raised $420 million in its initial public stock offering Monday, bolstering analysts' hopes for a revived new-issues market.

Aquila sold 17.5 million shares at $24 each. The offering was twice increased, having started in January at a price range of $17 to $22 and 16.5 million shares.

Aquila shares are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange today under the ticker symbol ILA.

The Aquila offering has generated optimism that the IPO market is reawakening. It has been all but shut down in recent months amid the continuing crash in tech shares.

Aquila, which earned $98 million in the 12 months ended Dec. 31, is one of just 25 companies to go public this year, compared with 179 in the same period last year. The IPO could open the gate for more sales soon, analysts said.

"The door has opened," said John Fitzgibbon, an IPO analyst for Internet sites, including Gaskins IPO Desktop and Ipowatch.com.

The spinoff of Aquila separates the energy trading business from the rest of Kansas City, Mo.-based UtiliCorp, which is the third-largest utility company in the U.S.

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