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SBA’s St. Tammany disaster loan center closing May 4

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Disaster Loan Outreach Center in the St. Tammany Parish Administrative Complex at 520 Old Spanish Trail in Slidell will close its at the end of the business day May 4. The center was opened to provide personalized assistance to Louisiana businesses and residents who were affected by severe storms and flooding March… Continue reading →

U.S. oil rig count drops 11; Louisiana reduced by 2

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. dropped by 11 this week to 420, again reaching an-time low amid depressed energy industry prices. A year ago, 905 rigs were active. Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday 332 rigs sought oil and 87 explored… Continue reading →

Lemonade Day stands going into business Saturday around Louisiana

Lemonade Day stands will be popping up all around Louisiana Saturday. More than 20,000 youth in the state are expected to participate in the sixth annual Lemonade Day, designed to teach entrepreneurship and character development among Louisiana’s youth ages 4 to 18. Young entrepreneurs were provided with a free backpack, which contained detailed materials to… Continue reading →

Initial unemployment claims in Louisiana fall

First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending April 23 decreased to 2,684 from the previous week’s total of 2,791. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,737, the state labor department said Friday. The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, increased to 2,739 from… Continue reading →

Public Belt Railroad’s valuation placed at $61 million to $196 million

The New Orleans Public Belt Railroad’s assets and business have been valued at $61 million to $196 million by Dallas-based consultants from KPMG, based on various scenarios. That range is the amount a reasonable buyer would expect to pay if Public Belt were put up for sale, the consultants said Thursday in a presentation to the board… Continue reading →

Dow Chemical quarterly profit hit by charges, adjusted results beat forecasts

Dow Chemical’s first-quarter profit slid mostly due a hefty charge tied to legal settlements, but the specialty chemicals maker’s adjusted results topped analysts’ estimates. For the three months ended March 31, Dow Chemical Co. said that earnings available for common shareholders were $169 million, or 15 cents per share. A year earlier… Continue reading →

IberiaBank quarterly profit rises

Lafayette-based IberiaBank Corp. reported its first-quarter earnings jumped to $40.2 million, or 97 cents per share, from $25.2 million, or 75 cents per share, a year ago. However, the 2016 results included non-operating expenses of $1.6 million, or 4 cents per share. Without those expenses, IberiaBank would have earned $1.01 per share, better than the 98 cents… Continue reading →

MidSouth Bancorp’s quarterly results beat Wall Street forecasts

Lafayette-based MidSouth Bancorp Inc. reported net income grew to $1.9 million, or 17 cents per share, from $1.3 million, or 12 cents per share, a year ago. President and Chief Executive Officer C.R. “Rusty” Cloutier said the company is encouraged by the recent upturn in oil prices and stabilization in MidSouth’s energy portfolio in early 2016.… Continue reading →

Praxair steps on the gas with $100 million carbon monoxide unit in Geismar

Industrial gas firm Praxair Inc. will spend more than $100 million to add a new carbon monoxide purification unit at its Geismar plant. The expansion will add 13 million cubic feet of carbon monoxide purification capacity to the facility. Praxair said the unit will help meet accelerating demand in the Mississippi River corridor. Carbon monoxide is… Continue reading →

Port of New Orleans to get new CEO as longtime leader announces retirement

Brandy Christian, Port of New Orleans

Longtime Port of New Orleans President and CEO Gary LaGrange — credited with steering the port through numerous disasters, natural and man-made, as well as economic downturns — will retire in April 2017. Chief Operating Officer Brandy Christian is expected to be named his replacement. LaGrange has headed the port since 2001 and… Continue reading →

Capital One misses 1st-quarter profit forecasts

Capital One Financial Corp. on Tuesday reported first-quarter net income of $1.01 billion. The McLean, Virginia-based company said it had profit of $1.84 per share. Earnings, adjusted to account for discontinued operations, were $1.85 per share. The results missed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Zacks… Continue reading →

GOING DOWN

Associated Press file photo -- Low oil prices helped cost Exxon its pristine AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor's, a label it held for over six decades, S&P announced Tuesday.

Low oil prices helped cost Exxon its pristine AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s, a label it held for more than six decades. The top AAA credit rating from S&P means a company’s debt is the safest possible investment. Now, only two other U.S. corporations are rated triple-A by S&P: consumer… Continue reading →

New York developer buys former Dixie Brewing warehouse for $5.6 million

A New York developer has purchased a former Dixie Brewing Co. warehouse at 2537 Tulane Ave. for $5.6 million. 2537 Tulane Properties LLC, which lists developer Jeffrey Feil as an officer, acquired the 1.6-acre site from former Dixie Brewing owner Kendra Bruno on April 11, Orleans Parish civil court records show. Feil is chief executive officer… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge promotional materials company expands with Chicago distribution center

The AST Marketing Group, a Baton Rouge-based company that makes promotional material for local and national brands, is expanding through a packing and distribution center in suburban Chicago. Carey J. Guglielmo Jr. , president and owner of AST Marketing, said the 110,000-square-foot facility will be the company’s fulfillment center for merchandise ordered through its… Continue reading →

Festive, tech-oriented New Orleans snags relocated conference

Photo provided by Collision -- Speakers address participants at a Collision conference. Now in its third year, the technology conference was lured from Las Vegas to New Orleans and is expected to attract more than 10,000 investors, entrepreneurs and writers.

As New Orleans works to secure its footing as a hotbed of tech startup activity, the city is expected this week to host more than 10,000 investors, entrepreneurs and writers to a growing technology conference that was lured from Las Vegas in large part by the appeal of sandwiching its schedule in the middle of the New Orleans… Continue reading →

Tech sector thriving with economic development

When New Orleans hosted the SIGGRAPH conference on computer graphics in 2009, there was some confusion about why an event that attracts tens of thousands of people working in the motion picture, engineering and video game industries was being held in a city not exactly known as a technology hub. Michael Hecht, president and CEO… Continue reading →

Business Briefs for April 24, 2016

A seminar titled “Starting and Managing Your Business” will be held by the Baton Rouge Area SCORE chapter from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in the Bon CarrĂ© Executive Conference Center, 7249 Florida Blvd., Baton Rouge. Topics include introduction to the business plan; business taxes; legal aspects… Continue reading →

Business Honors for April 24, 2016

BATON ROUGE AREA Sarah Cortell Vandersypen, associate director of development at the LSU Foundation, has received the Certified Fund Raising Executive designation from CFRE International. Certification is based on tenure in the profession, education, fundraising achievements, a commitment to service to not-for-profit organizations and passing a written exam.… Continue reading →

People in Business for April 24, 2016

Ron Crum, CSRS Inc.

BATON ROUGE AREA Architectural and engineering design and management firm CSRS Inc. has named Ron Crum to its economic development services team to help lead the its industrial site selection and analysis efforts and related economic development projects and services. Crum was vice president at global engineering firm AECOM.… Continue reading →

Sears to close two stores in La. stores this summer

Sears Holdings Corp. will close another 78 stores — 68 Kmart units, and 10 Sears stores — as it looks to restore profitability. Two of the stores are in Louisiana: A Sears in Houma and a Kmart in Pineville. The closings account for about 5 percent of its store base, which is nearly 1,700 stores.… Continue reading →

UnitedHealth, Ochsner cutting ties mid-May on ‘Compass’ coverage, affecting 3,000 in south Louisiana

Advocate file photo

With UnitedHealth already set to end its “Obamacare” health coverage in Louisiana next year, the insurance giant is now pulling the plug early with Ochsner Health System, apparently forcing close to 3,000 patients in south Louisiana to decide between paying hefty out-of-pocket medical expenses or driving more than an hour to visit a doctor. Taking Ochsner… Continue reading →

China rejects suit over faulty drywall

China’s Ministry of Justice has sent back a lawsuit in which thousands of U.S. homeowners — including ones in Louisiana — say a Cabinet-level agency should pay for damage to their homes from defective drywall made in China. The ministry says it won’t serve the legal papers because the agency is immune to such lawsuits and the… Continue reading →

Jarreau merges commercial real estates operations into Latter & Blum

Donnie Jarreau Real Estate is merging its commercial operations with NAI/Latter & Blum Inc. in a move that reunites Jarreau with the company where he got his start in 1989. “It’s a homecoming,” said Karl Landreneau, NAI Latter & Blum director. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company will operate under the name NAI/Latter… Continue reading →

Officials: Louisiana’s Medicaid expansion among health priorities; benefits lower-wage hotel, restaurant, hospitality workers

Louisiana’s push to expand Medicaid coverage to more uninsured people this summer presents “the major opportunity of this generation,” the head of the state’s health department said Wednesday. Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the state Department of Health and Hospitals, discussed the impact of the looming Medicaid expansion during a panel discussion at Propeller, a business… Continue reading →

Representatives invite businesses to Mexico

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- Sherri McConnell, assistant to the Louisiana Economic Development Secretary for Special Projects and Public Policy, speaks during the Mexico Trade Mission to Gulf States Wednesday at the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise Center in Lafayette.

Mexican business representatives on Wednesday invited southern U.S. companies, including those in Louisiana’s oil and gas sector, to check out reforms the country has made to its energy and other sectors. “We have enacted significant structural changes in Mexico,” said Edmundo Gonzáles Herrera, who is head of the Houston office of the country’s trade and investment recruiter… Continue reading →

BRAC policy statement supports passenger rail service from Baton Rouge to New Orleans

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber is pouncing on Gov. John Bel Edwards’ repeated support for commuter rail service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge by using commuter patterns, traffic problems and the state’s fiscal woes to make the case. Much of the estimated $260 million price tag could be funded by federal dollars, BRAC said in Continue reading →

UnitedHealth to pull out Obamacare coverage in Louisiana, affect nearly 29,000 customers

UnitedHealth is pulling out of “Obamacare” health coverage in Louisiana next year, forcing about 29,000 people to find a new insurance provider under the federal health care law. The nation’s biggest health insurer notified Louisiana Insurance Department officials last week that in January it will end its participation in most of its public health insurance exchanges created… Continue reading →