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Kinder Morgan to buy NextEra Energy Partners' Texas pipelines for $1.82 billion

FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of U.S. energy exporter and pipeline operator Kinder Morgan Inc. is seen in Houston

By Seher Dareen and Sourasis Bose

(Reuters) -U.S. pipeline operator Kinder Morgan said on Monday it would acquire NextEra Energy Partners' gas pipelines in South Texas for $1.82 billion.

The oil and gas pipeline business has seen increased consolidation this year as U.S. production grows and persisting problems related to permits for new pipelines have made existing operators more valuable.

NextEra Energy Partners' (NEP) Texas natural gas pipeline portfolio, STX Midstream, primarily consists of seven pipelines which provide natural gas to Mexico and power producers and municipalities in South Texas. The pipelines together have a transport capacity of 4.9 billion cubic feet per day.

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"Initially, we plan to fund the transaction with cash on hand and short-term borrowings," Kinder Morgan said in a statement.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024.

Shares of NEP, a unit of NextEra Energy created to acquire, manage and own contracted energy projects, have lost about 44% of their value since Sept. 27 when the company trimmed its distribution growth forecast through at least 2026.

Higher interest rates have raised project costs for NEP, hurting its growth, according to analysts.

"Upon closing, the proceeds would be sufficient to pay off the outstanding project-related debt," NextEra Energy Partners' CEO John Ketchum said in a statement.

The sale price represents an about 10 times multiple on the estimated calendar-year 2023 adjusted core profit for the Texas natural gas pipeline portfolio, NEP said.

"The valuation falls in line with recent trading multiples for midstream sector constituents and below some of the transaction marks," analysts at Guggenheim Securities said.

However, the deal provides some flexibility in credit metrics, the analysts added.

(Reporting by Seher Dareen and Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar)