Insurer finds success picking up hurricane policies

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Blue tarps covering wind damage were a common sight in Batoin Rouge after 2008's Hurricane Gustav. 1347 Property Insurance Holdings in Baton Rouge, which recently went public, is among four companies that have picked up wind-and-hail only policies from the state’s insurer of last resort, a line of business Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. would be only too happy to shed.

Baton Rouge’s 1347 Property Insurance Holdings sold 2.1 million shares and generated $17.4 million in going public the first week of April. Drawn by the company’s high-risk, high-reward business plan, investors pushed share prices from $8 in the initial public offering to more than $10 before settling to the mid-$9s. The company drew its name … Continue reading →

Business Briefs for April 20

A speed mentoring event targeted at entrepreneurs over the age of 50 is being held from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Main Library at 7711 Goodwood Blvd. in Baton Rouge. The event is being held by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Louisiana … Continue reading →

People in Business for April 20

Nicholas Knight, Knight Oil Tools U.S.A.

Nicholas Knight was named vice president of operations at Knight Oil Tools U.S.A. Knight’s previous positions include senior vice president of global resources and corporate manager. Donna Kasmiersky was named executive vice president and director of treasury management services at IberiaBank. Kasmiersky was the treasury management champion, executive … Continue reading →

Prosecutor alleges more investors enticed with tax credits

Former Baton Rouge businessman Gregory M. Walker, who has admitted defrauding buyers of $1.4 million in Louisiana film tax credits that he did not own, allegedly enticed $325,000 from other investors in July. At the time, Walker, 47, and his attorneys already were in plea negotiations with federal prosecutors in the larger case. As a result … Continue reading →

EBR building permits rise 16% in first quarter

Rendering provided by 440 on Third -- The former Capital One Bank building in downtown Baton Rouge is shown with an additional floor as part of a remodeling that will convert the building into apartments, commercial and office space and house a Matherne's Supermarket. It was among the largest commercial building permits issued in the first quarter.

Several big-ticket commercial building projects and an increase in homebuilding activity lifted the value of building permits issued in East Baton Rouge Parish by 16.4 percent for the first quarter over 2013. The value of building permits issued by the city-parish Department of Public Works Inspection Division through the end of March was $151.1 million, compared with … Continue reading →

Calpine sells St. Gabriel power plant

Calpine Corp. has agreed to sell six power plants, including a 501-megawatt plant in St. Gabriel, to LS Power for $1.57 billion in cash. The St. Gabriel plant, known as the Carville Energy Center, sells all of its power to Entergy. Calpine spokesman Brett Kerr said he does not have exact employment figures for the St. … Continue reading →

Louisianians with jobs top 2 million

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Construction at the Methanex methanol plant site in Geismar in 2013 reflects the industrial expansion that's helping drive job growth in Louisiana and has lifted totla civiliam employment above 2 million.

More than 2 million Louisianians say they have a job, an all-time high. Civilian employment hit a new peak for the sixth month in a row in March, as the state’s unemployment rate held steady from February at 4.5 percent. That tied for the seventh-lowest jobless rate in the nation. “Because of all we have done … Continue reading →

Airline Highway Deluxe Inn sold for $1 million

The Deluxe Inn, an extended stay hotel on Airline Highway across from Celtic Media Centre, has been sold for $1 million to a California company that plans to extensively renovate the 225-room property in order to attract business travelers. ELF Hotels bought the nearly 40-year-old hotel from BMR Funding, a Connecticut real estate investment trust, in … Continue reading →

Pool Corp. sees first quarter profits rise

Covington-based Pool Corp. reported its first-quarter profit rose to $4.2 million, or 9 cents per share, compared to $3.4 million, or 7 cents per share, a year ago. The wholesale distributor of pool supplies and equipment boosted sales by 10 percent to a record $406.3 million, thanks to customers replacing or remodeling their swimming pools, the company … Continue reading →

Jamestown land sold for $2.3 million

A 4-acre tract of land at the corner of Perkins Road and Pecue Lane has been sold for $2.3 million. Coastal Investment Enterprises LLC bought the land in a deal that was filed Tuesday with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court’s Office. Paul Pepitone, who is listed as a registered agent with Coastal Investment, would … Continue reading →

Two BR Valero stations up for sale

Two Valero gas stations in Baton Rouge are for sale as part of a company’s attempt to prune its network of gas and service stations. The station at 7515 Perkins Road, in front of Albertsons, and a stand-alone convenience store at 15138 Airline Highway, between Barringer Foreman and Highland roads, are two of 100 properties CST Brands … Continue reading →

Land acquired for Comite River canal project

A 66-acre tract along U.S. 61 has been acquired for the long-awaited Comite River Diversion Canal project. The Amite River Basin Commission, which was set up to maintain and operate the canal, bought the land from three property owners for nearly $1.45 million in a deal that was filed Wednesday with the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk … Continue reading →

Albemarle selling three business sectors

Baton Rouge specialty chemicals maker Albemarle Corp. is selling its antioxidants, Ibuprofen and propofol businesses and assets to privately held SI Group, of New York. The deal includes manufacturing sites in Orangeburg, S.C., and Jinshan, China, and Albemarle’s antioxidant product lines. Certain applications and technical support capabilities in Baton Rouge and Shanghai, China, … Continue reading →

AMA: La. doctors make big impact on state economy

Louisiana doctors had an outsized impact on the state’s economy, accounting for $7.7 billion in economic activity and supporting 93,974 jobs statewide, according to a new report from the American Medical Association. On average, each patient physician in Louisiana supported close to 10 jobs, including his or her own, the report says. The study includes only the … Continue reading →

Tire office-warehouse sold for $9.3 million

The American Tire Distributors facility at Airline Highway and Manchac Park Road has been sold for $9.3 million. Cole Corporate Income Trust, a Phoenix-based real estate investment trust, bought the 125,000-square-foot building at 17200 Manchac Park. The seller was Scannell Properties of Indianapolis, which built and developed the office-warehouse in the 5000 block of Airline. John … Continue reading →

Chouest investing $425 million in Brazil facility

Galliano shipbuilder and oilfield service provider Edison Chouest will invest about $425 million in deepwater port facilities in Brazil. Prumo Logistica, who is leasing the property, said the investment will give Chouest a leasing area to maintain its own vessels and a base to serve its offshore customers at Brazil’s Acu Port at … Continue reading →

Lafayette’s Summit Financial joins Focus

Summit Financial, a Lafayette investment and wealth management firm with $600 million in client assets, has joined New York-based Focus Financial Partners. Focus is a partnership of independent wealth management firms with more than $70 billion in client assets. Summit Financial was founded in 2003 by Fred Werner and David Daniel, both former Legg Mason advisors. … Continue reading →

EBR spending up 6 percent in February

Consumer and business spending in East Baton Rouge Parish increased by 6.2 percent in February compared with a year ago, possibly as a result of pent-up demand from the severe winter storms that kept shoppers away from stores during the last few days of January. Sales tax collection figures released by the city-parish Finance … Continue reading →

Entergy expects to see large first quarter earnings increase

New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. expects first-quarter earnings of around $2.28 per share, well above the 94 cents recorded in a year ago and stock analysts’ $1.15 forecast. The increase was driven by higher results at Entergy Wholesale Commodities and Utility. The commodities segment benefitted from “significantly” higher wholesale electricity prices, thanks to cold winter weather and the … Continue reading →

Carnival Dream sets sail from Erato Street Cruise Terminal

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream, the largest-capacity year-round cruise ship to homeport at the Port of New Orleans, left Monday afternoon on its inaugural six-day cruise from the Erato Street Cruise Terminal. The vessel will travel to Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, and Roatan, Honduras, on its introductory trip. Beginning Sunday, the Carnival Dream will operate year-round, offering three different itineraries to the western Caribbean. The ports of call include Montego Bay, Jamaica; Cozumel, Mexico; and Key West, Fla. Before the Carnival Dream, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s 3,114-passenger Voyager of the Seas was the largest cruise ship to call New Orleans home. The Erato Street Terminal underwent a $2.3 million renovation to accommodate ships as large as the Carnival Dream. Carnival is the Port of New Orleans’ largest cruise ship operator, also sailing the Carnival Elation on four- and five-day cruises year-round to Mexico.

The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream, the largest-capacity year-round cruise ship to homeport at the Port of New Orleans, left Monday afternoon on its first six-day cruise from the Erato Street Cruise Terminal. The vessel will travel to Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, and Roatan, Honduras, on its introductory trip. Beginning Sunday, the Carnival Dream will operate … Continue reading →

Long-term care costs in La. remain below U.S. median

The median cost for long-term care in Louisiana remains well below the national level, although Louisiana’s costs have grown more over the last five years than nationally, according to Genworth’s 11th annual Cost of Care Survey. The median annual cost for an assisted living facility in Louisiana is $37,875, compared with $42,000 nationally, the survey shows. The … Continue reading →

Louisiana stocks outperform market

Photo provided by Globalstar -- Globalstar's launch of a new satellite network and two debt restructurings to clean up uncertainty on its balance sheet have helped boost the Covington company's stock during the first quarter and 12 months up to March 31.. The satellite telecommunications company expects to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange April 21 and is persuing federal regulator's permission to offer wireless Internet service.

Thanks to a strong comeback from Globalstar, the Covington satellite phone company, the Pelican State Portfolio, a group of Louisiana stocks tracked by The Advocate, far outperformed the stock market during the first three months of 2014. The 24 stocks in the Pelican State Portfolio rose 9.6 percent in the first quarter and nearly … Continue reading →

Business Briefs for April 13

The LSU Public Administration Institute and Public Administration Institute Student Association will hold PAISA Day from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 23 in the rotunda of the Business Education Complex. … Continue reading →

Business Honors for April 13

The Louisiana Society of Association Executives has presented William Dufrene, senior vice president of the Alliance Safety Council in Baton Rouge, with the President’s Award and Vincent Zebeau Jr., executive vice president of the Deep South Equipment Dealers Association, with the Executive of the Year Award. They were recognized … Continue reading →

Business Meetings for April 13

DESK AND DERRICK CLUB OF BATON ROUGE WHEN: 11:30 a.m., Tuesday. WHERE: Hollywood Casino, 1717 N. River Road, Baton Rouge SPEAKER: Connie Fabre, Greater Baton Rouge Industrial Alliance RESERVATIONS: Beth … Continue reading →

Clock ticking for last-minute tax filers

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Master Tax Advisors T.J. Soni, left, and Jean Kelly stand next to a promotional cardboard cut-out in front of their H&R Block office located at 11445 Coursey Blvd.. Kelly said they will be there helping last-minute filers get their taxes into the system.

Area tax preparers are seeing higher-than-usual numbers of late filers as the deadline nears for submitting federal tax returns. “Percentagewise, I would say quite a few this year, actually,” said T.J. Soni, office manager for H&R Block’s Coursey Boulevard location. More than 25 percent of people file their returns between April 1 and the April … Continue reading →

Shoppers give U.S. retailers the cold shoulder in Canada

Associated Press photo by DAVE CHIDLEY -- A new Target store in Guelph, Ontario, faces stiff competition from Canadian Tire, which operates nearly 500 stores in the country and stocks housewares, barbecue grills and other items besides tires. It has increased its marketing and deepened its assortment of home decor and other areas.

For years, Canadians would cross the border to the U.S. to shop at Target. Exporting its cheap chic there seemed like a no-brainer. But a year after opening more than 100 stores north of the border, Target has found business isn’t so easy. Shelves are hard to keep stocked. Shoppers complain the prices are higher than … Continue reading →

Once-soaring tech stocks sink in sobering comedown

BC-US—Tech In Turmoil, 2nd Ld-Writethru,1053 Once-soaring tech stocks sink in sobering comedown Eds: Minor edits. By MICHAEL LIEDTKE and BARBARA ORTUTAY AP Technology Writers SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The stock market’s laws of gravity are inflicting pain on its highest fliers. Just look at the list of technology trailblazers whose values have plummeted from record highs during the past … Continue reading →

General Motors stock drops 4 percent, hits 10-month low

Shares of General Motors Co. sank to a 10-month low Friday amid continuing fallout from a mishandled recall of 2.6 million small cars. Standard & Poor’s raised doubts that GM’s credit rating would be restored to investment grade status this year after the automaker boosted its estimate for costs related to a series … Continue reading →

Weekly jobless claims rise in La.

First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending April 5 increased to 2,101 from the previous week’s 1,985. The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday there were 2,444 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013. The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, increased to 2,112 from the previous … Continue reading →

Coleman architects opens N.O. office

A New Orleans office has been opened by Coleman Partners Architects LLC at 635 Gravier St. The office gives the Baton Rouge firm its third location, having opened an office in Houston in 2006. Coleman has 31 employees, including 12 licensed architects and two licensed interior designers. The company said the New Orleans office … Continue reading →

U.S. rig count up 13; Louisiana gains 9

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by 13 this week to 1,831. The Houston firm said in its weekly report Friday that 1,517 rigs were exploring for oil and 310 for gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A … Continue reading →

Assisted-living center proposed in Hammond

A 90-apartment assisted-living center is planned for a 10-acre site in adjacent to North Oaks Medical Center in Hammond. Developer Ronald Duhe said the proposed project would focus on assisted living, independent living and memory care at the facility. The development will also include a fitness center, full-service restaurant, salon and media … Continue reading →

Another Broken Egg opening on Perkins April 21

Baton Rouge’s second Another Broken Egg Cafe at 9655 Perkins Road will hold its grand opening April 21. Stuart Ottinger, chief operating officer of Double R Restaurant Group, the Baton Rouge franchisee for Another Broken Egg, said he decided to open the second restaurant because of the success of the Citiplace location. The new restaurant will offer … Continue reading →

Coldwater Creek plans to close stores

Women’s clothing retailer Coldwater Creek has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will liquidate business operations after failing to find a potential buyer or a source of capital to help fund its turnaround efforts. Coldwater Creek has four locations in south Louisiana: Towne Center at Cedar Lodge in Baton Rouge, Acadiana Mall in Lafayette, Premier Centre … Continue reading →