News Release
March 07, 2000

DUKE ENERGY CHAIRMAN SAYS COMPANY WILL ACCELERATE GROWTH STRATEGY, EXPAND INTO NEW BUSINESSES IN 2000

VAIL, COLO. -- Duke Energy’s top executive today said shareholders can expect to see the company accelerate the pace of its strategy in 2000 by expanding into new businesses that tie in with its value-creating, interconnected network of energy assets.

Speaking to a group of analysts and investors, Duke Energy Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Richard B. Priory said the company has made substantial progress in its strategy of building and dynamically managing a portfolio of energy businesses. In 2000, he said, Duke Energy will reach a higher level of connectivity with customers through integrated offerings by existing businesses as well as the addition of new businesses.

"The interconnected global economy…requires an entirely new model of energy services and value creation. Duke Energy is responding to new market realities by moving to a multi-dimensional network of interconnected energy infrastructure, commodity markets and services," Priory said.

Priory announced that Duke Energy’s agenda for 2000 includes a series of growth initiatives designed to enhance customer and shareholder value, including:

"Duke Energy has transformed itself from the premier ‘hyper-electric’ to one of the master architects and achievers in the new energy economy," Priory said. "We have assembled the assets, resources, people and market positions that enable us to track down and capture value – and we’re not going to stop there. Look for Duke Energy to accelerate announcements on new initiatives and customer programs this year that support our strategy and core capabilities in energy and related industries."

Priory explained that these growth initiatives are a natural extension of Duke Energy’s strategy of creating value through an interconnected enterprise of energy businesses. He also emphasized that while Duke Energy has built a strong portfolio of energy assets, it actively manages that portfolio to maximize shareholder value.

Priory pointed to Duke Energy North America’s (DENA) announced sale of its interest in the Hidalgo Energy facility for $235 million as an example of the company’s active portfolio management strategy. At the same time, DENA announced the start of construction of three new merchant generation projects totaling 1,500 megawatts.

"We are not bound by locked-in asset positions. Instead, we will dynamically manage our asset portfolio to harvest gains and efficiently deploy our capital," Priory said.

He described Duke Energy’s agreement with Phillips Petroleum to form the nation’s largest midstream gas gathering and processing business as an example of how the company is increasing the velocity of its capital deployment. Following completion of the transaction with Phillips, the new company -- Duke Energy Field Services -- will offer approximately 20 percent of its equity to the public in an initial public offering (IPO).

"We will selectively recycle capital by selling portions of successful projects to investors and by accelerating the development of additional interconnected networks by redeploying the proceeds of such sales," Priory said.

Duke Energy remains committed to achieving annual earnings growth of 8 percent to 10 percent. Earnings growth increasingly will be driven by Duke Energy’s non-regulated businesses, Priory said. The company is projecting annual earnings growth before interest and taxes (EBIT) of 40 percent to 50 percent for its Energy Services group, 20 percent to 25 percent for its Field Services group and 15 percent to 20 percent for its Duke Ventures group (formerly Diversified Businesses).

"We will build value beyond expectations and position the Duke Energy investment as a standout stock performer," Priory said.

Duke Energy, a diversified multi-national energy company, creates value for customers and shareholders through an integrated network of energy assets and expertise. Duke Energy manages a dynamic portfolio of natural gas and electric supply, delivery and trading businesses -- generating revenues of nearly $22 billion in 1999. Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is a Fortune 100 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements regarding company activities that involve a number of risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially.

Contact: Danny Gibbs
Phone: 704/373-6680
24 Hour Phone: 704/382-8333
Email: dpgibbs@duke-energy.com