CLARKSBURG — Hearthstone Holdings Inc., a company of Ullico Infrastructure Fund, has announced it has closed on the acquisition of all the equity interests in Hope Gas Inc., a regulated gas distribution company in West Virginia.
Hearthstone indirectly acquired Hope Gas from Dominion Energy Inc.
Hearthstone is excited to bring the Hope Gas name back to West Virginia, Morgan O’Brien, Hope Gas and Hearthstone’s president and CEO, said.
“Customers will receive the same great utility service from great Hope Gas employees all located in West Virginia,” O’Brien said. “As we build out the local operation, we plan to aggressively hire in the state by adding jobs that will fuel the health of our local West Virginia communities.”
Hope Gas, founded in 1898, is among the largest local natural gas distribution companies in West Virginia with 3,200 miles of main and 2,000 miles of gathering pipe. The company serves more than 111,000 residential, commercial and industrial in 35 counties in West Virginia.
“We are excited to grow the business and leverage West Virginia’s abundant natural gas resources by collaborating with local natural gas producers to get more locally produced natural gas to more customers in West Virginia,” O’Brien said. “Using local natural gas to enhance the economic and growth opportunities in West Virginia will attract more businesses and jobs to The Mountain State.”
Hearthstone owns and operates natural gas distribution companies in Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, Maine and Montana and water and wastewater utilities in Arizona and Michigan.
“We are pleased with the closing of Hope Gas and further expansion of our presence in the regulated utility space,” said Rohit Syal, head of acquisitions for Ullico. “Hope Gas is a transformative addition for Hearthstone and we are excited about the growth opportunities in West Virginia while enhancing the safety of our system and expanding our service to more customers.”
Through Hope Gas, Ullico will continue to help the communities where it operates by investing, employing responsible labor policies and committing to local economic development, Sonia Axter, head of asset management for Ullico, said.
“Ullico is proud to add another company that has demonstrated continued support of its large unionized employee base and provides essential services to the communities it serves.” said Edward M. Smith, president and CEO of Ullico Inc.
The company plans to hire 100 additional employees.
“I’m pleased Hearthstone is investing in West Virginia and is committed to bringing not only affordable domestic energy to their customers, but also their headquarters and job opportunities to the Mountain State,” U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said. “This is great news for the region and I look forward to seeing the positive impact of this investment for years to come.”
As part of the agreement, Hearthstone will move its headquarters to Morgantown, further highlighting the importance of the acquisition to the portfolio.
“It is with great honor that I welcome Hearthstone to West Virginia,” Gov. Jim Justice said. “By moving their headquarters to Morgantown they have not only chosen to invest in our rich energy resources, they have also chosen to invest in our greatest resource, our people.”
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