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AEP River Operations purchases or leases B&H Towing assets


COLUMBUS, Ohio.– AEP MEMCO, LLC, a subsidiary of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) and part of its AEP River Operations division, has leased five towboats and purchased related assets from B&H Towing, Inc. and its affiliate, Lay Leasing, Inc. (the “Lay Companies”) of Paducah, Ky. The Lay Companies are privately-held companies that have supplied fully-found towboats to AEP River Operations for 12 years.

Certain employees of the Lay Companies who operated or managed its towboat fleet were offered positions with AEP River Operations, which has 1,200 employees and offices in Chesterfield, Mo. The towboat transfer and employee transition took effect on January 1, 2008.

Mark Knoy, president of AEP River Operations, anticipates leveraging the experience of the employees of the Lay Companies who come on board. "We look forward to sharing in their tremendous industry knowledge and operating insight,” Knoy said.

The five towboats – the motor vessels Andi Boyd, 4200 horsepower; Mary Harter, 4200 horsepower; Caleb Lay, 5000 horsepower; Paul Striegel, 5000 horsepower; and Helen Lay, 5600 horsepower – will be bareboat chartered to AEP MEMCO. These vessels represent virtually all the towboat fleet of the Lay Companies. Three additional vessels – the Cody Boyd, 2800 horsepower; Billy Joe Boling, 3600 horsepower; and Harry Brock, 3600 horsepower – that had been bareboat chartered to the Lay Companies by AEP MEMCO have been returned to the AEP River Operations fleet as part of the transaction.

With the completion of the transaction, the Lay Companies will continue to operate, primarily as a lessor of the five towboats that are bareboat chartered to AEP MEMCO, but will no longer independently operate a towboat fleet. AEP River Operations’ towboat fleet size will not change as a result of this transaction.

Financial details of the transaction and the number of employees of the Lay Companies involved were not released. AEP MEMCO is in discussions to assume the lease for the B&H Towing offices in Paducah in order to continue to occupy those offices.

Buck Lay and his wife Helen founded B&H Towing in 1985 in Paducah, Ky. Boats crewed by B&H Towing are used by AEP River Operations on the Illinois, the Upper Mississippi, and the Ohio rivers. Buck Lay, currently the chief executive officer of B&H Towing, said: “We have enjoyed an excellent, long-term relationship with AEP River Operations. We´re excited about the opportunities that this move gives to our employees as they join the AEP team.”


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