* To sell gas transmission system to Spectra Energy Partners * Atlas: looking for other transactions to generate cash
* Spectra: deal to add to cash available for distribution * Atlas shares up 10 pct
April 8 (Reuters) - Gas pipeline operator Atlas Pipeline Partners L.P. APL.N said it agreed to sell its NOARK gas transmission system to Spectra Energy Partners L.P. SEP.N for $300 million in cash.
Atlas Pipeline said with this sale, and the previously announced Marcellus Shale joint venture with Williams Cos Inc (WMB.N), it will be paying down about $400 million of debt.
“We continue to work on other transactions which should generate additional cash and further de-lever our company,” Atlas Pipeline said.
Under the latest deal, the primary asset to be acquired by Spectra is Ozark Gas Transmission L.L.C., extending from southeast Oklahoma through Arkansas into southeast Missouri.
Also included in the deal is Ozark Gas Gathering L.L.C., a fee-based natural gas gathering system located in eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas, Spectra said.
For the year ended Dec. 31, 2008, NOARK generated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of about $46 million, Spectra added.
Spectra expects the acquisition to immediately add to cash available for distribution. The company said it had recommended that the quarterly cash distribution per limited partnership unit be increased by 1 cent beginning the first full quarter following closing of the transaction.
The pending sale is expected to close during the second quarter of 2009.
Spectra expects long-term financing for the deal to be a combination of debt and equity. Pending long-term financing, it expects to utilize its existing credit facility and a bridge loan from its sponsor, Spectra Energy Corp (SE.N).
Atlas Pipeline shares were up 10 percent at $5 in trading before the bell Wednesday. Atlas Pipeline shares had closed at $4.55 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange, while Spectra Energy Partners shares closed at $21.60. (Reporting by Adveith Nair in Bangalore; Editing by Himani Sarkar)