John Martin and Abbey Doyle, Evansville Courier & Press

EVANSVILLE — The merger of Vectren Corp. and CenterPoint Energy of Houston is now official, and some layoffs occurred Friday across the combined company.

Two percent of the combined company's workforce was let go, with reductions occurring in Evansville and Houston. A hard number of layoffs was not released.

Several senior executives of Vectren were already known to be part of the reduction, but other laid-off employees were not informed until the transaction became official Friday.

"The vast majority of both CenterPoint and Vectren talent was retained," said Natalie Hedde, director of corporate communications for Vectren.

Vectren officials said last year that employees downsized because of the transaction would be eligible to receive up to two years of their salary, as well as premiums for health care.

Although the merger is final, Hedde said that, for now, the company locally will be known as Vectren, a CenterPoint company.

"That will be retained for some period of time," Hedde said.

Vectren and CenterPoint Energy announced the merger in April. The combined company has headquarters in Houston. Its natural gas utilities operation and Indiana electric operation is in Evansville.

The combined company has regulated electric and natural gas utility businesses in eight states that serve more than 7 million metered customers and a competitive energy businesses’ footprint in nearly 40 states.

It has about 14,000 employees with assets totaling approximately $29 billion and an enterprise value of $27 billion.

“Today, we come together as one company. With a greater level of business operations, resources and capabilities, we plan to execute a unified business strategy focused on the safe and reliable delivery of electricity, natural gas and energy-related services,” said Scott M. Prochazka, president and chief executive officer of CenterPoint Energy. “It is a time of transformation for our industry, and I believe CenterPoint Energy will be well positioned to deliver traditional energy services with innovative solutions that meet customers’ evolving needs and expectations.”

An outline of the combined company, according to the release:

Electric utility business – CenterPoint Energy maintains the wires, poles and electric infrastructure serving 2.4 million metered customers in the greater Houston area and 145,000 customers in Indiana. The company also owns and operates nearly 1,300 megawatts of power generation capacity in Indiana. CenterPoint Energy’s Texas electric utility business is headquartered in Houston and its Indiana electric utility business is headquartered in Evansville.

Natural gas utility business – CenterPoint Energy sells and delivers natural gas to 4.5 million homes and businesses in eight states: Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas. The company’s natural gas utility business is headquartered in Evansville.

Competitive energy businesses – CenterPoint Energy’s competitive energy businesses include: natural gas marketing and energy-related services; energy efficiency, sustainability and infrastructure modernization solutions; and construction and repair services for pipeline systems, primarily natural gas. The company’s competitive energy businesses are led from Houston.

Under the terms of the merger, Vectren shareholders will receive $72, along with a prorated dividend of $0.41145, in cash for each share of Vectren common stock owned as of the close of business on Friday.

Vectren common stock, which previously traded under the ticker symbol “VVC,” has ceased trading on and was delisted from the NYSE effective today.

Outgoing Vectren Chairman, President and CEO Carl Chapman said in the news release: “I look forward to watching the newly combined company thrive in this evolving industry. CenterPoint Energy was the right partner for Vectren, and I am confident this merger will have a positive impact on all stakeholders. I sincerely thank the employees and shareholders who have been part of the Vectren journey.”

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