Louisiana news briefs
La. exports hit record $63.1 billion in 2013
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana merchandise exports increased 0.3 percent to a record $63.1 billion in 2013, up from $62.9 billion in 2012.
The International Trade Administration said Tuesday Louisiana’s strong performance in 2013 helped the United States reach a record for exports of U.S. goods and services, reaching $2.3 trillion in 2013 and supporting nearly 10 million American jobs.
Louisiana was among 16 states to set new records for export sales in 2013, with 10 additional states experiencing merchandise export growth.
Louisiana’s merchandise export sales in 2013 outpaced the 2012 figures in many top destinations, including: France, up 122 percent; Panama, up110 percent; Belgium, up 40 percent; Colombia, up 35 percent; and Argentina, up 26 percent.
to buy Dallas bank
LAFAYETTE (AP) — IberiaBank Corp., of Lafayette, says it will acquire a Dallas bank in an estimated $64 million deal that provides a significant opportunity for growth in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.
First Private Bank has two branches in Dallas and Plano, Texas.
As of Dec. 31, First Private had deposits of $318 million and $257 million in loans.
IberiaBank President and Chief Executive Officer Daryl G. Byrd said the acquisition will help IberiaBank expand in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, much as the bank did over the past three years in Houston.
Under the agreement announced Tuesday, IberiaBank will exchange 0.27 shares of its stock for each share of First Private Holdings Inc., the holding company of first Private Bank.
for alleged roles
in double murder
THIBODAUX (AP) — Three Lafourche Parish men have been arrested for their alleged roles in a September double murder after investigators learned a convicted drug dealer ordered his son and an associate to kill the lead witness prior to his trial.
Toronzo Thompkins, 35, of Raceland, is accused of orchestrating the murder of Nikki Landry, 41, and Harry Lefort, 54, both of Larose.
Authorities said Thompkins allegedly instructed his 18-year-old son, Traveyon Blackledge, of Thibodaux, and 35-year-old Jerrard Major, of Raceland, to kill Taylor, who was scheduled to testify in Thompkins’ trial for crack cocaine distribution.
Whooping crane shooting survivor recovering at LSU
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A whooping crane hit by a shotgun blast last week in Jefferson Davis Parish is recovering at Louisiana State University after 5½ hours of surgery on its left wing.
Pellets shattered two long bones in the bird’s left wing, veterinary school spokeswoman Ginger Guttner said in an email Tuesday.
“We don’t know at this time whether or not the bird will be able to fly again. We take it a day at a time,” she wrote.
Whooping cranes are among the world’s largest and rarest birds. Only about 600 are alive, all descended from 15 that lived in coastal Texas in the 1940s. They are protected under state and federal laws.
Fifty have been banded, tagged with radio transmitters and released in southwest Louisiana since early 2011 in an attempt to create a flock like those that once lived in the area. The wounded male is among 32 still alive, and is the only survivor of the first group of 10.
Whoever shot him near the town of Roanoke killed his mate. They were the only birds that had formed a mating bond last year, though they were too young to produce eggs.
for rare amoeba
in St. Bernard
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Water samples taken in late January from the St. Bernard Parish water system have tested negative for a rare amoeba that has killed three people in Louisiana since 2011, state health officials said Tuesday.
The Department of Health and Hospitals, in a news release, said samples were negative for Naegleria fowleri, meaning increased chlorine levels in the water system have controlled it.
The water system was one of two that tested positive for the amoeba last year.
“While the water in St. Bernard Parish was always safe to drink, these negative test results give us confidence that it is now safe for all uses,” said DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert. “We will continue to work with parish leaders to monitor the system so that all families in the parish can feel safe.”
to gas terminal expansion in La.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Sempra International says it has received the final Energy Department permit it needs for a proposed expansion of its Cameron LNG natural gas terminal in Hackberry.
Approval is still needed from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Company spokesman J.C. Thomas in San Diego said Tuesday. A public hearing is scheduled Thursday in Sulphur on a draft environmental impact statement, he said.
Sempra wants to add liquification plants and other facilities to turn the import terminal into an export terminal. The expansion would cost up to $10 billion, with up to $7 billion of it in capital construction costs.
La. performance lags in Advanced Placement tests
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana’s high school seniors had among the poorest performances among students nationwide in their passing scores on Advanced Placement exams.
The exams are used to earn college credit.
A report released Tuesday by the College Board shows that 5.3 percent of Louisiana’s public high school graduates scored a 3 or higher last year on an AP exam. A 3 is the grade most colleges require for students to earn credit.
The only state with a lower percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher was Mississippi. Nationally, 20.1 percent of 2013’s high school graduates reached the benchmark.
Despite lagging nearly all states, Louisiana’s education department talked of the state’s improvement ranking highest in the nation, with the number of seniors getting a 3 or higher growing by 25 percent.
Entergy 4Q results top Street’s view
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Entergy said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter net income dropped 50 percent, hampered in part by some higher expenses and a comparison to year-ago results that included income tax benefits.
But its adjusted earnings and revenue beat Wall Street’s view.
For the three months ended Dec. 31, the power company earned $146.9 million, or 82 cents per share. That compares with $296.3 million, or $1.66 per share, a year earlier.
Taking out certain items, earnings were $1 per share. Analysts predicted earnings of 83 cents per share, according to a FactSet poll.
Total operating expenses climbed to $2.51 billion from $2.11 billion. Interest expense increased to $163.1 million from $154.4 million.
Revenue rose 10 percent to $2.69 billion from $2.44 billion. Wall Street expected $2.49 billion.
Full-year net income dropped 16 percent to $711.9 million, or $3.99 per share, from $846.7 million, or $4.76 per share, in the previous year. Annual revenue increased 11 percent to $11.39 billion from $10.3 billion.
Entergy reaffirmed its guidance for 2014 earnings of $4.60 to $5.40 per share. The New Orleans-based company said that based on assumptions as of Dec. 31, there are indications results will be near the upper end of the projected range.
Analysts expect earnings of $5.08 per share.
Entergy Corp.’s stock rose 20 cents to $62.97 in midday trading. Its shares are down just over 2 percent from a year ago.