Monday, March 23, 2015

The Delta Queen is moving again

It's not under its own power, but it's still a beautiful sight.

AEP planning to shed some towboat operations? (Updated 2x)

Here's the gist of a news release that came out this morning:

   COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 23, 2015 – American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) today announced that it is has engaged Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC to explore strategic alternatives for its competitive barge transportation subsidiary, AEP River Operations LLC. AEP River Operations is one of the largest U.S. inland marine transportation companies providing transportation services for bulk commodities, coal and liquids.
   AEP is committed to completing its review of potential alternatives for River Operations as promptly as practicable. There are no assurances that any particular alternative will be pursued or that any transaction will occur, or on what terms. The company does not plan to release additional information about the status of the review of alternatives until a definitive agreement is entered into or the process is otherwise completed.

By "competitive," I assume AEP is talking about the part of the business that does not supply coal to its power plants.

That's all I know right now. If I hear more, I'll pass it along.

UPDATE: If you want to see a little of the history of AEP River Operations, check out this link.

I'm so old, I can remember when the Oliver C. Shearer and the Lelia C. Shearer both bore the oval AEP logo on their stacks. I understand the Lelia has been scrapped after several years of service with Campbell Transportation, but the Oliver C. Shearer is still on the river.

I saw the Capt. Bill Stewart the other day and got a decent picture, even if the hill behind it was that deadly dull winter brown.

It would be hard to imagine the ten new AEP boats in other colors, but then I once thought the Ohio
 River Company would always be around.

UPDATE 2: A little while ago I talked with Tammy Ridout, manager of media relations for AEP. She said AEP plans to keep the part of its river transportation business that delivers coal to power plants that supply states where electric utilities are regulated, such as West Virginia. The review of options includes divesting equipment that supplies deregulated states such as Ohio, she said.

I have more in a story on The State Journal web site here.

If I recall correctly, AEP is considering selling its Ohio generating assets now that they effectively operate as merchant plants that sell power on the open market. If I’m wrong about that, someone please let me know.