Gov. Edwards, Cleco Formalize $7 Million Economic Development Fund

10 May, 2017

Fund will provide infrastructure improvements, other incentives to attract economic development projects in Cleco’s 23 parish territory.

PINEVILLE, La. – May 10, 2017 – Today, Cleco executives Peggy Scott and Bill Fontenot presented Gov. Jon Bel Edwards with $7 million for a fund that will be administered by Louisiana Economic Development to attract significant job-creating projects across the electric utility’s 23 parish service area in Louisiana.

Scott, who serves as chair of the Cleco Corporate Holdings LLC board of directors, and Fontenot, the CEO of Cleco Power LLC, presented a ceremonial check for the $7 million fund, which represents one of the key commitments made by a group of investors who purchased Cleco last year.  The investor group – led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation and Jogn Hancock Financial – completed the purchase in April 2016 following the March 2016 approval of the Cleco sale by the Louisiana Public Service Commission.
The primary use of the $7 million economic development fund will be to provide infrastructure improvements and other investments that specifically attract new capital investment and job-creating projects by employers who are expanding in the region or by prospects who are making new investments in the service territory.
Cleco’s 23-parish region stretches from St. Mary Parish in the coastal Bayou Region of Louisiana through Acadiana, Southwest Louisiana, Central Louisiana and into DeSoto Parish in Northwest Louisiana.  The service area also includes St. Tammany Parish and parts of Tangipahoa and Washington Parish in Southeast Louisiana.  In all, Cleco provides electrical power to approximately 288,000 commercial and residential customers.
“We embrace our mission to serve as a safe, reliable electricity provider, but, Cleco is much more than that,” said Scott, the company’s board chairwoman. We’re an economic development partner in communities across our state.  Louisiana is poised for that growth.”
Through a contractual agreement, LED will manage the fund to secure the maximum return on investment for stakeholders in the Cleco service region and for the State of Louisiana.
“We possess extraordinary economic development assets across the Cleco service territory, from Fort Polk and England Airpark to major ports, interstates and Class 1 railroads,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said.  “What excites me most is that our number 1 asset is our workforce, and I’m confident this fund will help us land tremendous projects that will significantly improve career opportunities and the quality of life for residences in this vital part of our state.”