Following regulators’ rejection of NextEra Energy’s $4.3 billion bid to acquire Hawaiian Electric Industries on Friday afternoon, shares in Hawaii’s largest utility fell sharply, losing 7.3 percent of their value by the end of Monday

The sharp drop came after the Public Utilities Commission decided “without prejudice” that the acquisition wasn’t in the public interest.

In rejecting the deal, the PUC said it was unconvinced about NextEra’s commitment to Hawaii’s 100 percent renewable energy goals.

Hawaiian Electric stock ended Monday on a steady downward trend, at $30.10.

NextEra had offered a stock premium to HEI shareholders as part of efforts to win their support for a deal that was announced in December 2014.

Hawaiian Electric Downtown payment office located on the bottom floor of the American Savings Building 1001 Alakea Street. 16 sept 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Hawaiian Electric’s payment office on the bottom floor of the American Savings Building on Alakea Street. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Among other things, shareholders were slated to receive a one-time cash dividend of 50 cents per share of HEI common stock if NextEra took over. That dividend has been cancelled.

Many thousands of shareholders of Hawaiian Electric live in the islands.

The Florida-based energy giant had promised to speed up the modernization of Hawaiian Electric, and HECO executives agreed.

Now that the utility that serves 95 percent of the population of the islands is on its own, it is unclear what value investors will place on it.

At least one analytic system, however, suggests that Hawaiian Electric’s shares may already have fallen slightly further than they should have, but it is based on numerical analysis, not on the evolving circumstances for the company.

HEI will receive an infusion of $90 million from NextEra as a sort of “break-up” fee because the buyer failed to get the deal through the necessary regulatory hurdles. HEI could also get as much as $5 million more from NextEra for legal fees associated with the merger process.

Hawaiian Electric promised in another statement Monday to use the after-tax remains of the $90 million to “help to fund Hawaii’s clean energy transformation.”

In response to the failure of the deal, NextEra Chairman and CEO Jim Robo was magnanimous. In a statement released Monday, he said, “We wish Hawaiian Electric the best as it serves the current and future energy needs of Hawaii, including helping the state meet its goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.”

(Read Civil Beat’s special report on the history of HECO, “Electric Dreams.”)




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