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Rating Action:

MOODY'S RATES CLECO CORPORATION BANK LOAN Baa1 SR. UNSEC.; LOWERS CLECO UTILITY GROUP PREFERRED STOCK RATING BY ONE NOTCH TO "a3; CONFIRMS ALL OTHER RATINGS

05 Nov 1999
MOODY'S RATES CLECO CORPORATION BANK LOAN Baa1 SR. UNSEC.; LOWERS CLECO UTILITY GROUP PREFERRED STOCK RATING BY ONE NOTCH TO "a3; CONFIRMS ALL OTHER RATINGS Moody's today assigned a Baa1 senior unsecured rating with a stable outlook to the new $200 million bank loan arranged for Cleco Corporation. A $120 million 364-day facility and an $80 million 3-year revolving credit comprise the loan. The loan will provide alternate liquidity for a new commercial paper program to be established by Cleco Corporation. The majority of proceeds from commercial paper offerings will be invested in a new subsidiary, Cleco Midstream Resources. Cleco Corporation's commercial paper program has yet to be rated by Moody's.


At the same time, Moody's lowered the rating on preferred stock issued by Cleco Utility Group to "a3" from "a2"to achieve proper alignment between the debt and preferred stock rating scales. The rating change more accurately depicts priority of claims throughout the new corporate structure. It does not reflect a deterioration in credit quality.


Cleco Corporation is a new holding company formed to house subsidiaries including Cleco Utility Group, Cleco Midstream Resources, and UtiliTech Solutions. The major operating subsidiary of Cleco Corporation continues to be Cleco Utility Group. Moody's rates Cleco Utility Group A2 senior secured and rates its commercial paper program P-1. The outlook for these ratings remains stable due to slow deregulation in Louisiana, reasonable rates and production costs, flexible management, effective expense control, and a rate stabilization plan effective through 2004.


Earnings from Cleco Utility Group comprised 98% of consolidated 1998 earnings. Over the next five years, earnings from Cleco Midstream Resources and UtiliTech Solutions will grow to 25% of total profitability. Cleco Midstream Resources recently announced two projects, Evangeline and Acadia, to capitalize upon the opportunities for unregulated generation in the southwest power pool. These projects initiate Cleco Corporation's strategy to become a regional midstream energy services company.


Cleco Corporation is headquartered in Pineville, Louisiana.

No Related Data.
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