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Seven Louisiana metro areas post job gains

Seven of Louisiana’s eight metropolitan areas gained nonfarm jobs over the year ended Sept. 30, according to seasonally adjusted figures released Friday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Numbers for metro areas’ job categories were not seasonally adjusted, but they showed gains in all but the Alexandria area, which lost 700 work slots. The… Continue reading →

Hollingsworth Richards Ford begins renovations

A $2.1 million renovation of the Hollingsworth Richards Ford dealership on Florida Boulevard is underway. Crews are modernizing the exterior, showroom and service areas of the business at 7787 Florida Blvd. The dealership will remain open during the renovations.… Continue reading →

U.S. rig count up 9; Louisiana down 1

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by nine this week to 1,927. The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,595 rigs were exploring for oil and 332 for gas. A year ago there were 1,738… Continue reading →

State to continue working with company on NW La. expansion

The state will work with a northeast Louisiana aviation business on continuing an expansion that was approved for a $575,000 grant just hours before the Oct. 17 death of one of Flying Tiger Aviation LLC’s executives, the state’s economic development secretary said Thursday. Longtime legislative, education and aviation figure Edwards Barham helped secure the state performance-based grant… Continue reading →

LSU lists Top 100 Fastest Growing Tiger Businesses

Global Commerce and Services LLC, an information technology company in Harvey operated by entrepreneur Joaneane Smith, tops the list of LSU’s 100 Fastest Growing Tiger Businesses for 2014, university officials announced Friday. Other companies at the top of fastest-growing Tiger-led business list in order are: Audubon Engineering, Metairie, provides design and management services… Continue reading →

Plan would sell stock to fund natural gas liquefication facility

The California company planning a $9.3 billion natural gas liquefaction facility in Cameron Parish hopes to fund the project by selling stock in the venture. SCT&E LNG’s first step will be to raise $40 million from a select group of investors over the next few weeks, according to Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Greg Michaels. The… Continue reading →

Owner reports $12.2 million loss on River Parishes Hospital sale

Photo provided by River Parishes Hospital -- River Parishes Hospital in LaPlace has been aquired by Ochsner.

LifePoint Hospitals Inc. reported a $12.2 million loss on the pending sale of River Parishes Hospital in Laplace, the company reported Friday. The write down includes property, equipment and goodwill. The price for the hospital was not disclosed. LifePoint included the charge in its third-quarter results. The company reported its third-quarter profit fell 15.4… Continue reading →

Elio Motors passes first phase of government loan process

Elio Motors Inc., which proposes making an enclosed, three-wheeled vehicle in northwest Louisiana, said Thursday its application for a $185 million U.S. Department of Energy loan has passed the first of three phases of review. Elio said its application was deemed “substantially complete” and moves to the due diligence phase. “While this is just one… Continue reading →

Westlake Chemical plans $330 million expansion in Sulphur

Westlake Chemical will spend $330 million to expand its Sulphur plant, a move that will create 25 jobs. The move will increase the plant’s capacity to produce ethylene, a building block for plastic products, by 250 million pounds annually, the company said Thursday. This will increase Westlake’s global ethylene capacity to 3.6 billion pounds a year.… Continue reading →

IberiaBank earnings rise, beat expectations

Lafayette-based IberiaBank Corp. said its third-quarter earnings climbed to $29.7 million, or 89 cents per diluted share, compared to $23.2 million, or 78 cents per share, during the same period in 2013. The holding company for IberiaBank said Wednesday the results included non-operating costs of 11 cents per share. Without those costs, IberiaBank would have generated… Continue reading →

Albemarle earnings drop, but beat expectations

Specialty chemicals maker Albemarle Corp. on Wednesday reported third-quarter earnings dropped to $72.8 million, or 93 cents per share, from $90.5 million, or $1.11 per share a year ago. But the company’s performance beat Wall Street expectations. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs and to account for discontinued operations, were $1.14 per share. That’s up from $1.09… Continue reading →

Four neighborhoods to demonstrate street improvement programs

Four Baton Rouge neighborhoods will be transformed this weekend by a demonstration aimed at showing what the proposed Complete Streets ordinance will do for bike and pedestrian access, connectivity and calming traffic. The displays in Bernard Terrace, Capital Heights, Valley Park and Webb Park come out of the Better Block demonstration ton Government Street in March… Continue reading →

Mask maker touts benefits of film industry in Louisiana

Advocate staff file photo by PATRICK DENNIS.  Composite Effects co-owner Wes Branton, left, works on a mask in 2011 at the company.

Louisiana should continue tax breaks for its burgeoning film industry and develop ways to train people in a wide variety of film jobs, a Baton Rouge mask maker told a Rotary Club audience Wednesday. Diana Branton, sculptor and chief creative officer for Composite Effects in Baton Rouge, said Louisiana topped California last year as the… Continue reading →

Xavier of Louisiana receives millions in grant money to benefit biomedical students

The National Institutes of Health.

Xavier University of Louisiana received a $19.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to expand student participation in biomedical programs. The award is part of a $240 million NIH investment involving more than 10 institutions. Xavier and other recipients will establish a national consortium to train, mentor and encourage students from underrepresented groups to enter… Continue reading →

Dow Chemical beats analysts’ quarterly forecast

Dow Chemical Co. on Wednesday reported third-quarter earnings of $937 million. The Midland, Michigan-based company, which has sustantial operations in Louisiana, said it had profit of 71 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, came to 72 cents per share. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment… Continue reading →

Software developer expanding into Baton Rouge

A Shreveport developer of software for collecting and managing student information will establish a satellite office in Baton Rouge with a payroll of $5.4 million, officials said Wednesday. EDgear is a 30-year-old software developer. It will place 85 full-time employees at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport during the next three years. Those jobs will average annual salaries of… Continue reading →

Louisiana’s Tuscaloosa, Haynesville shales hampered by oil, natural gas prices

Drillers are closing in on the most efficient and consistent way to produce oil from the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale across Louisiana’s midsection, but low prices will strongly affect drilling activity. Likewise, natural gas prices will hamper activity in the Haynesville Shale in northwest Louisiana until proposed export terminals are operating, energy summit experts said Wednesday. Liquefied natural… Continue reading →

Workshops set for small business plan competition

Workshops have been scheduled this week for participation in a statewide small business growth plan competition with $60,000 in prizes that is being held by Capital One Bank in conjunction with the 41st Annual Bayou Classic football game in New Orleans. The competition will feature two categories: Category 1 for businesses with annual revenue of less than… Continue reading →

Capital Region home sales post slight drop in September

Home sales in metro Baton Rouge were down by 1 percent in September, despite increased sales in Ascension and Livingston parishes. There were 725 home sales that closed in September in the eight-parish area, according to figures released Tuesday by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors. That compares with 732 closed sales in September 2013.… Continue reading →

News good for Louisiana job growth, but bad for unemployment rate

Louisiana’s nonfarm employment grew by 33,100 jobs over the year ended Sept. 30, setting a record and nearing the 2 million mark. Seasonally adjusted numbers released Tuesday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission showed nonfarm employment exceeded 1.98 million — 12,100 shy of 2 million. “Thanks to consistent job growth that continues to set records,… Continue reading →

Sinfonia expands to La.

Sinfonia Family Services, the behavioral health subsidiary of Sinfonia HealthCare Corp., plans to expand to Louisiana and Maine. The company’s Louisiana headquarters will be in Metairie, and Sinfonia Family Services plans to open offices in Lafayette and Shreveport in 2015. Kathleen K. Saintcross, former manager of Quality Life Counseling of New Orleans, has been named… Continue reading →

East West Copolymer secures $12 million in financing

Houston-based investment firm Main Street Capital Corp. said Tuesday it led a $12 million financing round for Baton Rouge’s East West Copolymer & Rubber LLC. East West, which bought the synthetic rubbers plant from Lion Copolymer in April, will use the money for working capital and expansion. Main Street provided $9.6 million of the total.… Continue reading →

Lululemon opening in Acadian Village

Rendering provided by Lululemon -- Lululemon will occupy a stand-alone store at the Acadian Village shopping center at Perkins Road and Acadiana Thruway.

Lululemon, the trendy manufacturer of yoga apparel, is set to open a stand-alone store in the Acadian Village shopping center. Plans are to open a 3,200-square-foot store by fall 2015. The store will be built on a parcel between Galatoire’s Bistro and a Shell station, near the Perkins Road-Acadian Thruway intersection. This… Continue reading →

Airline Walgreens building sold

The Walgreens Pharmacy building at 5955 Airline Highway has been sold for $5.5 million. Penn 1031 LLC sold the building to ARCP WG Portfolio I LLC in a deal that was filed Monday with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court’s office. The buyer is connected to American Realty Capital Properties, a real estate investment trust that… Continue reading →

Agency approves Water Campus building

The first component of the Water Campus, a 33-acre center for coastal education and research between downtown and LSU, was approved by the City-Parish Planning Commission Monday. Commissioners also approved a rezoning request from the Tipitina’s Foundation to turn two buildings at 5049 Melrose Blvd. and 5069 Melrose Blvd. into office/classroom space, audio and video recording studios,… Continue reading →

Shell Midstream Partners files for $750 million IPO

Shell Midstream Partners LP filed for an initial public offering that could be worth about $750 million before expenses and discounts. Shell Midstream was formed by Royal Dutch Shell, and it will focus on acquiring pipelines and other midstream assets. Shell Midstream’s assets include stakes in Zydeco Pipeline Co., Mars… Continue reading →

OLOL to monitor critical patients at Woman’s Hospital

Critical adult patients at Woman’s Hospital will be monitored through specialized equipment by critical care physicians at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in a partnership between the two hospitals. A nationwide shortage of critical care physicians — also known as intensivists — has made it difficult for hospitals around the country to recruit the… Continue reading →

Textron lays off 200 from Slidell military plants

Textron plans to lay off about 200 workers from its two Slidell armored vehicle plants, saying it’s temporarily shutting down production. Workers were told earlier this month that they would be laid off effective Nov. 3. Company spokesman Tom Williams said Textron, an industrial conglomerate based in Providence, Rhode Island, is replanning… Continue reading →

National firm ranks Louisiana business climate 10th in U.S.

A national location marketing firm has ranked Louisiana as having the nation’s 10th-best business climate and tied for the second best state economic development agency. The Development Counsellors International report polled 356 corporate executives and site-selection consultants. Louisiana jumped 20 spots from the last time the report was done in 2011 when the… Continue reading →

Rouses, Associated Grocers reach settlement in legal dispute

Advocate staff file photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Thibodaux-based Rouses Supermarket, with one of its 40 stores located in Lafayette, reached an undisclosed settlement in legal dispute with grocery supplier Associated Grocers in Baton Rouge.

Thibodaux-based retail grocery chain Rouses Enterprises and Baton Rouge-based wholesale grocery supplier Associated Grocers have reached an undisclosed settlement in a legal dispute after three days of trial last week. “The Rouse family is very satisfied with this resolution,” managing partner Donny Rouse said in a statement Monday. He said terms of the settlement are confidential.… Continue reading →

Onshore rigs could flee La. as oil prices go down

Falling oil prices could speed the departure of onshore drilling rigs from the state, particularly in the still-developing Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, which underlies parts of southeast Louisiana. But experts say it will take a longer downturn to slow deepwater activity in the Gulf of Mexico, where the rig count is expected to jump 50 percent by 2016.… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge business helps students with college entrance exams

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- From left, Charlie Davis, Missy Crews, Jared Loftus, Craig Gehring, Dale Petty and Danny Ryan. Craig Gehring managed perfect scores on the ACT and SAT tests when he was a student at Baton Rouge Magnet High. He later developed ACT Mastery, a program that helps average students earn higher scores on the ACT. Gehring's company, MasteryPrep, has sold the program to more than 400 schools in 10 states.

Craig Gehring didn’t pursue a college degree after he achieved perfect scores on both the ACT and SAT college entrance exams as a junior at Baton Rouge Magnet High School in 2003. Instead, he tutored a girl who needed to score three more points on the ACT to qualify for a state college scholarship. That girl then… Continue reading →

Business Briefs for Oct. 19, 2014

The Southern University Law Center will hold its 25th annual National Bar Association Wiley A. Branton Award and Issues Symposium Oct. 29-31, with a theme of “Education: The New Civil Right.” American Bar Association President-Elect Paulette Brown, who will be the first woman of color to… Continue reading →

People in Business for Oct. 19, 2014

Dan Paquin, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana

Dan Paquin has joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana as senior vice president of government programs responsible for the growth, policy development, administration and operation of Blue Cross’ soon-to-be-launched Medicare Advantage plan. Paquin was president of national health plans for Wellcare Health Plans and was responsible for the Medicaid, Medicare… Continue reading →

Business Honors for Oct. 19, 2014

Neena Kelfstrom, The Runnels School

Gina E. Eubanks, associate vice chancellor and program leader for nutrition and food sciences at the LSU Agricultural Center and vice chancellor for extension at the Southern University AgCenter, received the Leadership Award at the Booker T. Washington Economic Summit at Tuskegee University in Alabama. She was cited for her work that highlights and… Continue reading →

Business Meetings for Oct. 19, 2014

LOUISIANA NOTARY ASSOCIATION WHEN: 6:30 p.m., Monday WHERE: D’Angelo’s, 7550 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge EVENT: Shop talk RESERVATIONS: Nan Riffe at LOUISIANA SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER WHEN: Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. WHERE: Ascension Parish Library, 500 Mississippi St., Donaldsonville SPEAKER: Stephen Waters on “Starting and Financing a Small Business” COST: Free RESERVATIONS: (225) 473-8052 INTERNATIONAL FACILITY MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION WHEN: Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. WHERE: Juban’s Restaurant, 3739 Perkins Road,… Continue reading →

U.S. rig count down 12; Louisiana unchanged

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by 12 this week to 1,918. The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,590 rigs were exploring for oil and 328 for gas. A year ago there were 1,739… Continue reading →

Initial unemployment claims rise in Louisiana

The state labor department said first-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending Oct. 11 increased to 2,473 from the previous week’s total of 2,081. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,513 initial claims. The department said the week marked the start of a new quarter for new claims. That… Continue reading →

Entergy’s Vermont Yankee shutdown to cost $1.24 billion

Entergy Corp.’s soon-to-close Vermont Yankee nuclear plant could cost up to $1.24 billion for a decommissioning of its reactor, and plant officials said they currently have about half that much in a fund dedicated to paying for that work. The figure was contained in a “site assessment study”… Continue reading →

Federal offshore oil lease sale set for March

Oil and gas leases for 40 million acres off the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama will be offered by the federal government in a March sale at the Superdome in New Orleans, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said Friday. The sale will include 7,611 blocks, covering about 40.5 million acres,… Continue reading →

CF Industries, Yara abandon partnership negotiations

Advocate staff file photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Cranes dot the landscape in September at CF Industries' $2.1 billion expansion at its Donaldsonville area plant. CF industries and Norway's Yara International have abandoned merger talks.

Merger talks have been abandoned by CF Industries, which operates the nation’s largest nitrogen complex in Donaldsonville, and Norway’s Yara International. The deal would have created a massive player in the fertilizer industry. Producing fertilizer is an extremely energy-intensive process, and natural gas is a huge feedstock in the industry. A merger would have locked in cheap… Continue reading →