Florida Water Services closes Hernando County sale

Florida Water Services Corp., has received about $36 million in a judgment through which Hernando County, Fla., took ownership of its water and wastewater system.

DULUTH, Minn., Nov. 3, 2003 -- ALLETE Inc. announced Friday that its subsidiary, Florida Water Services Corp., has received approximately $36 million pursuant to final judgment in a condemnation action through which Hernando County took ownership of Florida Water's water and wastewater system serving Hernando County, Florida.

Florida Water Services has been in the process of selling its assets. Approximately 90 percent of Florida Water assets have been sold or are under contract to be sold for $442 million, which represents an after-tax gain to Florida Water, net of all selling and transaction costs, of about $85 million.

To date, the expected net cash proceeds after transaction costs, retirement of most Florida Water debt, and payment of income taxes are approximately $260 million. Net proceeds from the sale will be used to retire debt at ALLETE.

ALLETE's corporate headquarters are located in Duluth, Minnesota. ALLETE's holdings include Minnesota Power, an electric utility that serves some of the largest industrial customers in the United States. For more information about ALLETE, visit the company's Web site at www.allete.com.

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