Centerpoint shares increase on MLP formation plan

Centerpoint Energy Inc., a Houston-based energy distributor, rose the most in more than a year after it said it’s still considering forming a master-limited partnership.

Shares rose 3.2 percent to $21.37 at 2:39 p.m. in New York, the most intraday since Feb. 29. The company may still form an MLP to hold its midstream assets, Centerpoint Chief Executive Officer David McClanahan said today during a conference call with analysts.

MLPs don’t pay federal income taxes and have assets that generate cash flow to make payouts to unit holders.

McClanahan would also consider buying Energy Future Holdings Corp.’s Oncor Electric Delivery utility unit to boost earnings, he said.

“It’s all about buying it for a price where you can create shareholder value and we will look hard at it if it ever comes on the market,” McClanahan said.

Oncor would be a “nice fit” with the company’s regulated utility business, which Centerpoint is looking to expand, McClanahan said.

Energy Future has no plans to sell Oncor, said Allan Koenig, a spokesman for the company. Energy Future holds an 80 percent interest in Oncor, a regulated utility that owns power lines in and around Dallas, Fort Worth and Midland, Texas and delivers electricity to 3 million customers.