Empire, which is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Utilities, has approximately 218,000 customers in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Following the completion of the transaction, Empire will cease to be a publicly-held corporation.

As part of the deal signed in February 2016, each shareholder of Empire will receive $34.00 per common share including the assumption of approximately $0.9bn of debt.

Empire District Electric Company president and CEO Bradley Beecher said: “We have no doubt that Liberty Utilities, as an experienced utility that prides itself on community-oriented values, local management and customer service, commitment to safety, and a focus on corporate responsibility, will head a utility system that continues to make decisions in the best interest of our customers in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.”

APUC earlier said that the acquisition is part of its growth strategy and is intended to strengthen and diversify its existing businesses while strategically expanding regulated utility footprint in the mid-west US.

APUC CEO Ian Robertson said: "Empire is highly complementary to the scope of our current operations, brings valuable scale to our existing utility business, and adds further support to our annual dividend growth target of 10% through significant accretion to per share cash flows and earnings.

"The APUC and Empire teams have worked diligently to successfully bring our companies together, and we are excited about the many opportunities that our newly expanded platform brings to our growth prospects in North America."

APUC noted that the acquisition materially expanded its utility operations in the US. Employing 2,200 people, APUC serves over 782,000 electric, gas, and water customers within its regulated utility business.