Business briefs

From The Associated Press and staff reports.

Fertilizer plant could mean 150 St. Charles jobs
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana economic development officials say a fertilizer manufacturer will decide by early next year whether to build a $1.2 billion plant in St. Charles Parish.
AM Agrigen Industries and Gov. Bobby Jindal said in a Monday news release that feasibility studies are underway on the proposed site. A decision to go ahead with the plant would mean creation of 150 new jobs with the average annual salary coming to $55,000.
Construction would begin in mid-2015.
The state said that, to secure the project, Louisiana offered the company incentives including a $5.6 million grant to offset infrastructure costs. The company also is expected to use the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
AM Agrigen has options to purchase 650 acres near Killona in St. Charles Parish for the project.

Signet Maritime acquires 8 Harvey Gulf Marine tows
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans-based Harvey Gulf International Marine has sold its towing division to Signet Maritime Corporation.
Signet said the acquisition includes eight offshore towing vessels.
Houston-based Signet, which has facilities in Louisiana and Mississippi, said it has committed to retention of all crewmembers.
Signet said the transfer of ownership was completed Thursday with financing provided by Wells Fargo Equipment Finance as part of a $209 million syndicated financing facility.

Ascension economic development group facing cuts
GONZALES (AP) — Ascension Economic Development Corp. officials are considering how to retrench in the face of a 75 percent cut in funding from the city of Gonzales.
Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux said he’s considering vetoing the budget the council passed in a 3-2 vote this month because of the drastic cut to the economic development group other issues.
The nonprofit AEDC receives most of its funding, about $322,000, from the Ascension Parish government. Its second-largest source of revenue until this month was $100,000 from the city of Gonzales, which the council has slashed to $25,000.
Gonzales Councilman Terance Irvin, at a council meeting on April 28, had proposed amending the city’s general fund budget to reduce the amount the AEDC was receiving by $75,000.

4 N.O.-area funeral homes sold
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Four New Orleans-area funeral homes have been sold.
They were listed for sale as part of Service Corporation International’s recent acquisition of Jefferson Parish-based Stewart Enterprises Inc.
Schoen Funeral Home and Greenwood Funeral Home in New Orleans, along with Garden of Memories Funeral Home and Cemetery and Tharp-Sontheimer Funeral Home in Metairie, were acquired Friday by Houston-based Carriage Services Inc.
Service Corporation International was ordered to divest itself of 91 properties — 53 funeral homes and 38 cemeteries — as part of a Federal Trade Commission antitrust agreement allowing the company to purchase Stewart. The more than $1 billion cash deal combined the two largest funeral home and cemetery operators in the nation.

Tabasco Factory building new visitors’ center
AVERY ISLAND (AP) — Visitors to the Tabasco Factory on Avery Island will soon have even more to experience during their tour of the facility.
The McIlhenny Company is constructing a new visitors’ center and restaurant to enhance the experience on the island. The new center will include a museum with photos of the family, the brand, and the island throughout the years.
The restaurant will include a buffet filled with Cajun cuisine as well as snack items.
Along with the new additions, the company is also building a greenhouse so visitors can see the growth of peppers, at various stages, that are used in the hot sauce product.
The expansion is expected to be finished by mid-2015.
From The Associated Press.

MidSouth Bank founding board member dies
LAFAYETTE — The MidSouth Bank family is mourning the loss of the man long credited with getting the bank off the ground in 1985.
Dr. Joe Hargroder of Jennings, a founding board member who raised 25 percent of the capital to start MidSouth Bank and prided himself on having never missed a board meeting, lost his hard-fought battle with cancer on May 15. He was 83.
“I just don’t even know where to begin in trying to put into words the kind of loss each of us at the bank is feeling,” MidSouth Bank President and CEO Rusty Cloutier said in announcing Hargroder’s death. “Dr. Joe has been our rock for so long. We could never repay him for the faith he put in us and for his guidance and determination to make this bank what it is today. Without Dr. Joe there would have been no MidSouth Bank.”
Hargroder’s contributions to MidSouth Bank date back three decades, when he went to his patients, friends and colleagues in Jeff Davis Parish with a proposal to invest in a startup bank in Lafayette. Like they had done when he advised them on their health, they trusted his word and put their hard-earned money into MidSouth Bank. As usual, the good doctor did not disappoint them.
A family physician for more than three decades, Hargroder left the medical profession in 1992. He served as vice chairman of MidSouth Bank’s board of directors from 1990 to 2012, having relinquished the role in May 2012 due to his declining health. He remained a loyal board member until his death.
In recognition of Hargroder’s lifetime of service to Jeff Davis Parish and the vital role he played in the founding of MidSouth Bank, the board of directors and management established the Dr. Joe Hargroder Scholarship in 2005. The $50,000 endowed scholarship fund was set up through the McNeese Foundation and is available to students from Jeff Davis Parish. The bank has made a commitment to increase this fund over the next five years.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that contributions be made to the established fund. Checks can be sent to the McNeese Foundation, P.O. Box 91989, Lake Charles, LA, 70609. Donations can also be made online at
A celebration of Hargroder’s life will be held in Jennings during the month of July.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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P.O. Box 566, Franklin, LA 70538
Phone: 337-828-3706
Fax: 337-828-2874

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P.O. Box 948, Morgan City, LA 70381
Phone: 985-384-8370
Fax: 985-384-4255

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