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U.S. rig count declines by 14: Louisiana drops 1

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. this week declined by 14 to 795. It was the sixth consecutive week of declines. Houston’s Baker Hughes said Friday that 605 rigs were seeking oil and 189 explored for natural gas.… Continue reading →

World Trade Center in New Orleans lauds Pacific trade pact as good for Louisiana

Advocate staff file photo -- Rice is loaded into a truck in Abbeville for delivery to a mill. A Pacific trade pact would expand the export market for Louisiana rice, cotton, poultry and soybeans, the World Trade Center in New Orleans says.

The World Trade Center of New Orleans said the landmark Pacific trade pact will benefit Louisiana farmers by providing opportunities for growth in promising Asian markets. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is designed to encourage trade among the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, nations that represent nearly 40 percent… Continue reading →

House OKs lifting ban on oil exports

Defying a White House veto threat, the Republican-controlled House on Friday approved a bill to lift a 40-year-old U.S. ban on crude oil exports. Supporters argued that an ongoing boom in oil and gas drilling has made the 1970s-era restrictions obsolete. Industry proponents in Louisiana have said lifting the export ban would help… Continue reading →

Weekly unemployment insurance claims decrease in Louisiana

First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending Oct. 3 edged down to 2,341 from the previous week’s 2,342. During the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,081, the state labor department said. The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, decreased to 2,251 from the previous week’s… Continue reading →

Salsbury’s files for permit to move auto dealership further south on Airline Highway

Salsbury’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram has filed a site plan to move its auto dealership a few miles south on Airline Highway. The dealership will relocate from its spot between Florida Boulevard and Interstate 12 to a location near the intersection with Barringer-Foreman Road. Plans were filed Thursday with the city-parish Planning… Continue reading →

LSU physicists contribute to Nobel winning research

LSU researchers helped make the key measurements that show neutrinos, a sub-atomic particle, have mass, a discovery that secured the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for Takaaki Kajita of the University of Tokyo and Arthur McDonald of Queens University in Canada. LSU Professor of Physics Thomas Kutter and his group of researchers were members of the Sudbury… Continue reading →

California investment firm takes stake in Rayville ag lender

California-based Virgo Investment Group has invested an undisclosed amount in ARM, a Rayville company that provides agribusiness loans and crop insurance. “The landscape for agribusiness risk management and client resource optimization is changing rapidly. These changes include increased bank regulation, growth of the crop input and insurance businesses, and continued volatility in crop markets,” said Brad Terral,… Continue reading →

Rouzan, beer bar, Zaxby’s to go before Baton Rouge planning commission

A final development plan for phase five of the Rouzan traditional neighborhood development has been submitted to the city-parish Planning Commission, along with revised plans for the neighborhood center, which will include the first Alamo Drafthouse movie theater in the state. Phase five of the development calls for a mix of residential units spread across… Continue reading →

Entergy sells Rhode Island power plant

New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. plans to sell its 583-megawatt Rhode Island State Energy Center in Johnston, Rhode Island, to Carlyle Power Partners for $490 million. The natural gas-fired plant began operating in 2002. One megawatt is roughly the electricity needed to power 1,000 homes. Entergy’s wholesale generation division, Entergy Wholesale Commodities, bought the plant for… Continue reading →

Jury finds former Stanford Financial executive breached fiduciary duty to bank at center of Ponzi scheme that hurt 1,000 Louisiana investors

A Dallas federal civil court jury found that a former Stanford Financial Group executive failed to act in the best interests of the Antigua bank at the heart of a global, multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. Losses worldwide were estimated at as much as $7 billion, with about $1 billion suffered by about 1,000 investors in the Baton Rouge,… Continue reading →

LSU narrows development of Nicholson Gateway Project to five firms on site that includes old Alex Box Stadium

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU fans tailgate near the intersection of Nicholson and Skip Bertman in preparation of the NCAA Division I Baseball Super Regional between LSU and UL-Lafayette in on LSU's campus in Baton Rouge, La.

Five firms are in the running to develop a 28-acre stretch of property along Nicholson Drive that includes the old Alex Box Stadium site. The LSU Property Foundation said Wednesday the firms have to submit their proposals for the land between West Chimes Street and Skip Bertman Drive by Nov. 2. The Nicholson Gateway Project aims… Continue reading →

La. ranks No. 1 ... in putting residents behind bars

Louisiana puts a higher percentage of its residents into prison than any other state, according to a report from a Virginia traffic attorney. According to attorney Andrew Flusche, the United States imprisons more of its residents than any NATO member, and Louisiana puts more of its population behind bars than any other state. In… Continue reading →

Lobster boom may turn bust

A two-decades-long lobster boom appears to be ending as mysteriously as it began.

LaPorte CPAs in Metairie acquiring Houma firm, gaining fifth location

The Metairie-based accounting and business consulting firm LaPorte CPAs and Business Advisors plans to acquire Houma’s Beyer, Stagni and Co. LaPorte president and CEO William Mason said Tuesday the deal, which is expected to be completed by December, will put LaPorte’s staff at 180 people, with revenue in excess of $25.5 million. The combined firm… Continue reading →

Barge maker Trinity Marine Products plans to close Madisonville plant, lay off 336 workers

Barge maker Trinity Marine Products Inc. plans to close its Madisonville plant in December and lay off 336 people. The company said in a notice filed Monday with the Louisiana Workforce Commission that the layoffs will begin Dec. 4 and be finished by Dec. 30. Trinity’s disclosure came two months after the barge maker said… Continue reading →

Regions, online lender offer new product for small business

Small business owners will be able to access an online lender’s application through Birmingham, Alabama-based Regions Bank’s website. Regions and New York-based Fundation Group LLC made the announcement Monday. Both firms said their agreement provides a coordinated, first-of-its-kind lending solution. Small businesses will be able to expedite their Regions loan applications or apply for a Fundation loan.… Continue reading →

Testing begins at Sabine Pass gas export facility

Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass natural gas export terminal has gotten its first fuel deliveries, according to data analysis firm Genscape. The small shipment indicates that Cheniere has begun the commissioning process, the testing that makes sure the Cameron Parish facility is working correctly. Cheniere has said it expects the natural gas liquefaction facility’s first production unit… Continue reading →

Louisiana chemical industry files suit to block $50,000 raises for Mississippi River pilots

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Mississippi River in New Orleans.   File photos of aerials of New Orleans area and landmarks shot July 23, 2013.

Louisiana’s chemical industry has filed suit to block raises for two groups of Mississippi River ship pilots that would boost their average annual pay more than $50,000 over four years, to $473,692 in 2019. Pay agreements approved by the Louisiana Pilotage Fee Commission include pay hikes of more than $30,000 in 2016, followed by 1.5… Continue reading →

People in Business for Oct. 4, 2015

Tasha Cooper, Capital Area March of Dimes

The Capital Area March of Dimes has named Tasha Cooper as division director, responsible for managing all initiatives within the nine-parish area including fundraising, implementing community services and coordinating educational programs. Cooper was assistant director of annual giving at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.… Continue reading →

Business briefs for Oct. 4, 2015

Associated Design Group Inc., a Louisiana-based consulting engineering firm, has been joined by the staff of Daniel T. Calongne & Associates Inc., of Baton Rouge. Daniel Calongne will serve as executive officer of the ADG Baton Rouge branch office at the Calongne & Associates location. ADG… Continue reading →

Business Honors for Oct. 4, 2015

USS Kidd Ship Superintendent Tim NesSmith

USS Kidd Ship Superintendent Tim NesSmith was presented with the Historic Naval Ships Association’s Henry A. Vadnais Jr. Award for outstanding service. NesSmith was recognized for his commitment to the preservation of the WWII Fletcher-class destroyer and as a respected name in the preservation community. He started as a part-time tour… Continue reading →

Lafayette’s LHC Group completes acquisition of Georgia hospice company

LHC Group Inc., a Lafayette-based home health and hospice company, will acquire Cumming, Georgia-based Halycon Hospice LLC and its 16 facilities for $58.5 million in cash. Halcyon is one of the largest independent hospice companies in the Southeast. The company employs around 400 people and has facilities in Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina. Halcyon’s annual revenue… Continue reading →

University panelists to discuss educated workforce for Baton Rouge

A panel discussion titled “Creating an Educated Workforce for a Better Baton Rouge” will be held by Volunteers in Public Schools from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at Juban’s Restaurant at 3739 Perkins Road. Panelists are LSU President F. King Alexander, Southern University President Ray L. Belton and Interim Chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College… Continue reading →

Water Institute participating in FEMA flood risk program

The Water Institute of the Gulf has been awarded funding to prepare a business plan describing how the organization can support the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Risk Map program to identify flood risk and help reduce that risk. FEMA and its partners provide flood maps and information; tools to assess the risk from flooding; and planning and… Continue reading →

205 acres sold for $1.2 million at Wax, Hooper roads in Central

A 205-acre tract of land between Wax and Hooper roads in Central has been sold for $1.2 million to a group of investors. Central City Investment Group LLC bought the land in a deal that was filed last week with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court’s office. The seller was Capital One. Central City is… Continue reading →

Mosaic makes $2 billion settlement in hazardous waste storage dispute Agreement with U.S., La. and Fla. covers 60 billion pounds of hazardous waste

Mosaic Fertilizer LLC will create a $1.8 billion trust fund to cover the future costs to close its Uncle Sam plant and three in Florida, and to treat the plants’ hazardous wastewater, under a settlement announced Thursday. The deal with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice resolves a 10-year dispute. The agencies… Continue reading →

Waste Management opens Walker CNG fleet facility

Waste Management of Louisiana has opened a new compressed natural gas fleet facility in Walker. The new CNG facility, servicing routes in Livingston Parish and the greater Baton Rouge area, is a major step toward the company’s goal of reducing its fleet emissions and increasing its fuel efficiency, said Warren Guedry, public sectors solution – Gulf… Continue reading →

Sherwood office building sold for $880,000

An office building off South Sherwood Forest Boulevard has been sold for $880,000 to a group of local investors. CVM Jefferson Properties LLC bought the building at 11414 Lake Sherwood Ave. North in a deal that was filed Wednesday with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court’s office. The seller was DJ & ER Properties LLC… Continue reading →

KPAQ mill in St. Francisville acquired by Tennessee company; no word on whether jobs affected

Advocate staff file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Hood Container Corp. has acquired KPAQ Industries LLC, which operates a containerboard and kraft paper mill in St. Francisville. The mill previously was operated by Renew Paper and before that Timbec.

The KPAQ Industries liner board and Kraft paper mill in St. Francisville has been acquired by a Tennessee-based company for an undisclosed price. Hood Container Corp. said the mill will complement its corrugated paper mill in New Johnsonville, Tennessee. Plans are to operate the St. Francisville facility as Hood Container of Louisiana.… Continue reading →

Magellan Health laying off 80 in Baton Rouge

Magellan Health said it will lay off 80 workers at its care management center in Baton Rouge beginning Nov. 30 because it is losing a contract with the state to manage mental health and addictive disorder services for Medicaid patients. In a letter sent Monday to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, Magellan officials said the layoffs would… Continue reading →

Louisiana gains jobs despite losses in six of nine labor markets

Louisiana continued to add nonfarm jobs during the 12 months ending Aug. 31, despite job losses in six of the state’s nine metro areas. The three labor markets with gains are Baton Rouge, Hammond and Lake Charles. Louisiana’s nonfarm employment was estimated at 1,982,500 for August 2015, the highest figure for the month of August in… Continue reading →

Fraiche named trustee for Hospitality Properties

Attorney Donna D. Fraiche has been named an independent trustee for Hospitality Properties Trust, a publicly traded real estate investment trust that owns 302 hotels. Fraiche is a shareholder in the Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC law firm and practices in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. She is a past member of the Louisiana Recovery… Continue reading →

Texas, New York insurance companies sell for $290 million

Two insurance companies licensed to do business in Louisiana will be acquired in separate deals valued at $290 million. Texas-based Republic Companies Inc. will be acquired by New York-based AmTrust Financial Services Inc. for $233 million. Republic had total premiums of about $711 million in 2014. The company writes coverage through independent brokers in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma,… Continue reading →

Program designed to help Louisiana with new health cooperatives fails

A federal program designed to aid federally created health plans such as the Louisiana Health Cooperative Inc. instead became the final nail in the ailing nonprofit’s coffin. Louisiana Health — taken over by state regulators on Sept. 1 — was one of 23 plans created nationally under the Affordable Care Act to ensure there would be competition… Continue reading →

People in Business for Sept. 27, 2015

Tina Robinson, Community Coffee Co.

Community Coffee Co. has promoted Tina Robinson to general manager of talent development and Shauntel Deshautelles to general manager of recruiting. Robinson played a key role in the training development department in the implementation of new leadership development training events and curriculum, along with enhancing the company’s employee orientation training and… Continue reading →