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Louisiana Business: Jeremy Shockey Is A Cult, Fitch Ratings, Whitney Holdings, NOMA
Written by  // Tuesday, 28 December 2010 16:04 //

Louisiana Businessstories summary: Fitch Ratings places Whitney Holding Corp on Rating Watching Evolving; Louisiana Governor Jindal annonces new acid plant in North Louisiana;   New Orleans Saints star, Jeremy Shockey becomes a Cult spokesman;

Whitney

Fitch Ratings has placed Whitney Holding Corp.'s (WTNY) ratings including its respective 'BBB' and 'F2' long- and short-term Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) on Rating Watch Evolving. The action follows today's announcement that WTNY and Gulfport, MS based Hancock Holding Company (HBHC) have entered into a definitive merger agreement. While Fitch does not currently rate HBHC, Fitch believes the combined company would likely be rated investment grade. A complete list of rating actions follows at the end of this release.

The all stock deal creates a company with approximately $20 billion in assets, $16 billion in deposits and over 300 branches in five contiguous states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. The merger is expected to close in the second quarter of 2011 with a $200 million capital raise anticipated to maintain sound capital ratios and facilitate the payoff of WTNY's $300 million in TARP. The company has projected an 8.6% tangible common equity ratio at close.

HBHC has positively differentiated itself during this downturn by remaining profitable with NCOs and NPAs below many peer comparisons, especially for a banking company based in the Southeast. WTNY has remained under pressure from asset quality challenges which have hampered the company's return to profitability with Fitch's expectation that elevated pressure from loan losses would have likely continued into 2011. WTNY's current ratings reflect the company's elevated level of problem loans and operating performance relative to other similarly rated peers. HBHC is expected to take an approximate $447 million credit mark representing 6% of WTNY's $7.5 billion loan portfolio (less loans already identified for bulk sale) with higher marks in commercial real estate and construction and development loans.

While there are apparent synergies and potential cost saves, this is a major acquisition for HBHC and integration remains a substantive risk. While both company's have acquisition experience, neither have completed a merger of this scope. The loan portfolio of the combined entity will be more balanced with HBHC's more consumer focused book combining with WTNY's more commercially-oriented loan portfolio. The combined company will still have a large percentage of loans in CRE and construction at 44% of combined loans. Fitch notes that HBHC's performance in this area has been relatively better than peers and WTNY has continued to work through its problems in this area, however, Fitch expects CRE loans to remain challenging for the industry.

WTNY is an $11.9 billion holding company based in New Orleans, LA with branches in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas. Headquartered in Gulfport, Miss., HBHC is an $8.2 billion in assets company with branches in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida.

The following ratings have placed on Rating Watch Evolving:

Whitney Holding Corporation

--Long term IDR 'BBB';

--Short-term IDR 'F2';

--Individual 'C';

--Preferred stock 'BB+'.

Whitney National Bank

--Long term IDR 'BBB';

--Long-term deposits 'BBB+';

--Short-term IDR 'F2';

--Short-term Deposits 'F2';

--Subordinated debt 'BBB-';

--Individual 'C'.

The following ratings have been affirmed:

Whitney Holding Corporation

Whitney National Bank

--Support at '5'

--Support Floor at 'NF'

Twenty provisions of the controversial Health care law which passes Congress this year goes into effect within a few days—2011.

You can see which provisions will begin to be implemented by clicking here, a site by the  Kaiser Foundation which shows an implementation timeline. 

 

Louisiana Economic Development
Adding to a string of successes for December 2010, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal  joined Myriant Technologies LLC Chairman and CEO Stephen Gatto and Port of Lake Providence Director Wyly Gilfoil to announce Myriant Technologies, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Myriant Lake Providence Inc., will soon begin building a new 392,000-square-foot plant at the Port of Lake Providence that will be the world's largest bio-based succinic acid plant. Read more

Jeremy Shockey

New Orleans Saints’s star tight end, Jeremy Shockey, is the new spokesperson for Cult Energy Activator, an all-natural energy beverage. The campaign, featuring Shockey, will launch on Friday, Dec. 31 at the Republic New Orleans.

 

The launch party will feature Trent Cantrelle, Javier Drada and Ryan Deffes, and life-size cutouts of Shockey will be available for promotional contest entries.

 

The contest guidelines established by Cult feature taking a photo of the entrant with one of the many life-sized Shockey cutouts with a Cult, visiting the energy drink’s fan page on Facebook at Facebook.com/cultenergy, “liking” the page and submitting their picture for viewing.

 

The contest winner will receive dinner, an autographed jersey and football and a year’s supply of Cult Energy Activator, all delivered by Shockey.

 

The winner of the first-ever Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year Award in 2002, Shockey has earned four Pro Bowl selections in his career and received a Super Bowl ring with the Giants in Super Bowl XLII and with the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV.

 

Cult Energy Activator, the energy drink is based on natural ingredients. The drink, which can be used to combat exhaustion and mental or physical weariness, lacks Taurine and is instead powered with all-natural Guarana caffeine. It is also available in an All Natural Stevia sweetened version.

New Orleans Museum of Art

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is ringing in the New Year with new hours, new programming and new prices: 

 

New Hours:

NOMA will be open 6 days a week starting in 2011. Tuesday through Sunday the museum will be open from 10 am to 5 pm. On Fridays the museum will be staying open til 9 pm for after-hours fun called Where Y’Art?!

 

New Programming:

Where Y'Art? Each Friday evening enjoy different offerings of live music, performances, children's activities, exhibition walk-throughs, guest speakers, theatre and - of course - GREAT ART.

 

New Prices:
(Note the flat rate. No more different prices for LA residents / out-of-towners.)

$10 adults
$ 8 seniors, students, active military
$ 6 children (17-7)
Children 6 and under are free.

 

Wednesdays is the FREE day courtesy of Helis Foundation.  If you are a student at Loyola, Tulane, Nunez Community College, University of Lafayette, Our Lady of Holy Cross, UNO, Delgado, Xavier with a current ID, you get in FREE, as these Universities pay to be a member of NOMA.

Sculpture Garden is open 7 days a week and always FREE.

 

FREE BIRTHDAY PARTY!

FREE public birthday on Saturday, January 8. (10 am to 5 pm) The morning kicks off with the St. Aug Marching 100 parading down Lelong Drive. There will be performances throughout the day from the New Orleans Ballet Theatre, the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, and the New Orleans Opera Association. Cafe du Monde is providing coffee.

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