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MDU Resources to spin off Knife River subsidiary; move will create 2 publicly traded companies

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Mandan Sunset 2 (copy)

A crew with Knife River Corp. pours cement on Sunset Drive in northwest Mandan in 2013.

Bismarck-based MDU Resources Group is spinning off its construction materials subsidiary Knife River Corp.

The move was approved unanimously by MDU's board of directors and is expected to be complete next year. It will create two independent, publicly traded companies, MDU Resources President and CEO David Goodin said in a statement Thursday. 

Both companies will be able to put more focus on resources and capital to achieve each of their goals, according to Goodwin. 

“We expect this transaction to create significant value for our shareholders and believe it will enable us to achieve attractive shareholder returns at both companies,” he said.

GOODIN (copy)

MDU Resources Group President and CEO David Goodin

Shareholders will retain their shares of MDU Resources stock and obtain shares of Knife River stock in a transaction that's expected to be tax-free to the company and its shareholders. The actual number of shares to be distributed will be determined later, as will the specific transaction structure.

MDU Resources will continue to be the parent company for several electric and natural gas utilities as well as natural gas pipeline and construction services companies: Cascade Natural Gas Corp., Intermountain Gas Co., Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., WBI Energy Inc. and MDU Construction Services Group Inc. The company's utilities provide electric and natural gas service to 1.2 million customers in eight states.

Knife River, which provides construction materials and contracting services throughout the western, central and southern U.S., also will remain headquartered in Bismarck. 

Knife River has more than 1 billion tons of construction material reserves, 110 ready-mix plants, 50 asphalt plants, and a combined 410,000 tons of liquid asphalt and cement storage. It also performs contract work on projects such as roads, bridges, residential properties, schools, shopping centers, office buildings and industrial parks.

“The MDU Resources board believes Knife River is ready to continue its success as a standalone public company and take full advantage of anticipated work resulting from federal infrastructure funding," MDU Resources Board Chair Dennis Johnson said in a statement. "We will diligently work through the separation process to ensure each company is optimized to deliver value for shareholders.” 

MDU Resources Group on Thursday reported second-quarter earnings of $70.7 million, according to The Associated Press. The company said that on a per-share basis, it had profit of 35 cents. The company posted revenue of $1.72 billion in the period. MDU Resources expects full-year earnings to be $1.75 to $1.90 per share.

Reach Jackie Jahfetson at 701-250-8252 or jackie.jahfetson@bismarcktribune.com.

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