Citizens sells liquefied natural gas unit to equity firm

A five-year-old Indianapolis company that supplies liquefied natural gas to trucking companies, manufacturers and other customers is now under new ownership, after Citizens Energy Group sold it to a private equity firm.

Kinetrex Energy, which bills itself as an expert in “clean energy fuel solutions,” was acquired by Chicago-based Parallel49 Equity Fund V for an undisclosed price, the companies announced Wednesday.

Citizens Energy said it sold the unit to allow it to expand and “fill the void” for liquefied natural gas in the Midwest. Kintetrex was a wholly owned subsidiary of Citizens Resources, which is itself a subsidiary of Citizens Energy, best known as owner of water and sewer operations in central Indiana.

“In order to expand, Kinetrex needs capital funds to continue its growth and maximize its already strong market position,” Citizens spokesman Dan Considine said in an email. “Citizens Resources is not in a financial position to adequately provide this capital funding.”

He added that Citizens Resources recently left the gas marketing business because it didn’t fit with its core business strategy.

Kinetrex specializes in supplying natural gas that is chilled into liquid form. The fuel is billed as a low-cost alternative to diesel, which reduces greenhouse emissions by 20 percent. Kinetrex, with 25 employees, is expected to continue growing under new ownership, and all workers are to be retained. It also expects to fill up to six open positions.

“For Citizens, this was a great business, but very capital-intensive,” said Aaron Johnson, who will continue to lead Kinetrex as president and CEO. “In order to grow and reach our potential, we need more investment, which we can get from our new owners.”

Kinetrex has offices in the J.F. Wild Building, 123 E. Market St., downtown, and operates plants at 86th Street and Zionsville Road on the north side and in Beech Grove.

Its customers include parcel shipper UPS, which buys liquefied natural gas to fuel its truck fleet, and diesel manufacturer Cummins Inc.

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