Macquarie bid to buy Louisiana utility rejected by regulator
Louisiana regulators rejected a $US3.4 billion takeover of utility-owner Cleco by an investor group led by Macquarie Group.
The Louisiana Public Service Commission voted 3-2 against the transaction at a meeting Wednesday. The decision comes after a regulatory judge said in a recommendation last week that the deal was not in the public interest as structured, citing concerns including the debt level that would be placed on Cleco’s utility.
Cleco is a public utility holding company based in Pineville, Louisiana. In business since 1935, the company has approximately 1200 employees serving approximately 286,000 customers in Louisiana through its retail business and supplies wholesale power in Louisiana and Mississippi.
The holding company owns the regulated electric utility company, Cleco Power LLC, which is engaged principally in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity, primarily in Louisiana. Cleco Power owns 10 generating units with a total nameplate capacity of 3,333 megawatts.
Commissioners should require the companies to adhere to commitments they’ve already made as well as defer the consideration of tax-structure issues if they decide to approve the merger, the judge said at the time. Cleco said last week that regulators should find the transaction is the the public interest when $US143 million of customer savings, regulatory commitments and recently updated ratings assessments are taken into account.