Dutch utility Nuon to acquire Chicago-based Utilities, Inc.

Nuon, a Netherlands provider of electricity, gas and water utilities, plans to acquire Utilities, Inc., the largest investor-owned water company in the U.S.

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, March 28, 2001—Nuon, The Netherlands largest provider of electricity, gas and water utilities, today announced it plans to acquire Chicago-based Utilities, Inc., the largest investor-owned water company in the U.S. and a rapidly-growing provider of water and wastewater services.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

According to Carel W.J. Kok, Chief Growth Officer for Nuon, the acquisition of Utilities, Inc. is consistent with Nuon's international growth strategy of expanding its energy and water holdings through domestic and global mergers, acquisitions and equity investments in its core growth markets of The Netherlands, Germany and the United States.

"The acquisition of Utilities, Inc. and its 80 subsidiary operating companies will provide Nuon with a strong presence in the U.S. water and water services marketplace, and will complement our corporate goal of becoming a major international force in the marketing, sales and distribution of energy, water and related products and services," said Kok.

James Camaren, Chairman and CEO of Utilities, Inc., said Nuon's expertise in water distribution technologies will provide Utilities, Inc. with operational efficiencies and economies of scale to fuel its growth strategy of acquiring and managing water utility systems across the United States.

"Utilities, Inc. has outpaced the growth of the U.S. water market by acquiring attractively valued utility systems in geographically diversified markets with long-term profit potential," said Camaren. " By combining our disciplined management approach and regulatory expertise with the financial resources and support of Nuon, we believe we can provide Nuon with a strong platform for growth in the U.S. water market."

Utilities, Inc. is the holding company for approximately 80 subsidiary operating companies which provide residential water and/or wastewater services to more than 235,000 customers in 16 states. The company employs more than 300 people in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

The companies said they will continue to maintain Utilities, Inc.'s headquarters, corporate staff and administration facilities in Northbrook, Illinois.

Camaren noted that the U.S. water market has entered into a period of significant consolidation, with a handful of companies leading the consolidation process. "As the market consolidation continues, we expect Utilities, Inc. to outperform the industry growth rate and build on our leadership position in water distribution and services," added Camaren.

Nuon's Kok said the liberalization of the European energy market, which got underway in 1998, has allowed Nuon to apply its expertise in energy and water distribution around the world, as well as explore applications of renewable energy technologies. "The liberalization of the Dutch energy market mirrors the economic liberalization of the European market as a whole. We see some exciting opportunities for Nuon to expand its global reach through environmentally friendly acquisitions, joint ventures and equity investments," he said.

About Nuon

Headquartered in Amsterdam, Nuon is the largest energy distributor in The Netherlands, serving more than five million residential and business customers with electricity, gas, water and heat. In addition, Nuon develops and markets products and services related to energy and water products. The company is also a leader in developing renewable "green" energy projects such as small-scale hydroelectricity, wind and solar technologies.

Nuon had revenues of more than 3.5 billion Euros in fiscal year 2000. It employs more than 9,000 people.

In 1997, Nuon acquired North Coast Energy Inc., a Twinsburg, Ohio-based provider of natural gas. In early 2000, Nuon and United Kingdom water firm Biwater created international water company Cascal. In November 2000, Nuon acquired NORIT, one of Europe's leading suppliers of water purification solutions for the food and beverage industry with offices in Marshall, Texas and Pryor, Oklahoma. The company also holds an equity stake in Green Mountain Energy, an Austin,Texas-based provider of electricity to residential, commercial and industrial customers. For further information visit Nuon's website at http://www.nuon.com/.

About Utilities, Inc.

Headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, Utilities, Inc. is the largest investor-owned water utility and water services company in the United States, providing water and wastewater services to more than 235,000 residential customers in 16 states. In 2000, Utilities, Inc.'s revenues grew to more than 13 percent to more than $64 million, while net income jumped 17 percent to more than $10 million. For further information visit Utilities, Inc.'s web site at http://www.utilitiesinc-usa.com/.

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