CB&I moves 400 jobs to Baton Rouge location
BATON ROUGE — CB&I, the company that bought the Baton Rouge-based Shaw Group, is expanding its presence in the capital city, moving 400 jobs there from out-of-state locations.
The company and Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Monday that CB&I is centralizing a second of its four operating divisions in Louisiana.
Jindal said the decision eliminates concerns that CB&I, which engineers and builds large infrastructure projects, would shrink the former Shaw footprint in Baton Rouge and drastically reduce jobs.
“They’re adding so many employees, they’ll actually have to lease space here in Baton Rouge,” he said.
Jindal said the new jobs are expected to be in place by 2014 and will pay salaries averaging from $68,000 to $78,000 a year plus benefits.
The state is giving the company up to $3.3 million for relocation costs, along with tax breaks for providing high-paying jobs and worker training assistance, according to Jindal.
Royal Sonesta sells for $120M
NEW ORLEANS — A Massachusetts real estate investment trust that last year acquired the lease of the Royal Sonesta Hotel has purchased the building as well.
Hospitality Properties Trust in January 2012 closed its deal with Sonesta International Hotels Corp. for the Royal Sonesta New Orleans lease and a Cambridge, Mass., hotel for $150.5 million.
According to Orleans Parish conveyance records, Royal Sonesta Inc., the New Orleans leasing entity, completed the purchase of the Bourbon St. property on June 27 for $120.5 million.
The hotel, established in 1969, has 483 rooms and 35 suites.
GONZALES — An $8 million expansion and renovation of Tanger Outlets Gonzales is winding down and should be completed by August.
General manager John Taylor said the final stage of the project, demolishing the old Liz Claiborne store to make room for additional parking is underway. That work should be finished by the end of the month or early August.
Taylor says the final new store is set to open in August.
Once the expansion is complete, Tanger Outlets Gonzales will have more than 322,000 square feet of leasable space and house more than 60 shops and restaurants.
Mauldin is immediate past president of CPAs
Shawn Mauldin of Thibodaux, is serving as the 2013-14 immediate past president of the Society of Louisiana Certified Public Accountants.
Mauldin is the dean of the College of Business Administration at Nicholls State University and the Arlen B. Cenac Jr. Endowed Chair in Accounting. In 2005, he received the LCPA’s Lifetime Achievement in Accounting Education Award. He received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from Nicholls State University and a Doctor of Philosophy of Accounting from the University of Mississippi.
The LCPA (www.lcpa.org) was organized in 1911 and is a non-profit, professional association of more than 6,300 CPAs statewide working in public practice, industry, government, and education.
DiamondJacks creditors approve bankruptcy exit
JACKSON, Miss. — Having failed in an attempt to sell the two DiamondJacks casinos to an Oklahoma Indian tribe, creditors are bringing the Bossier City and Vicksburg, Miss., gambling halls out of bankruptcy themselves, hiring Mississippi’s Foundation Gambling Group to try to improve operations.
DiamondJacks owner Legends Gaming filed for bankruptcy reorganization almost a year ago, with creditors ultimately claiming more than $500 million in debts. The Vicksburg casino employs more than 350 people, according to recent numbers reported to regulators. The Bossier City casino employs more than 600.
Creditors approved the reorganization plan in June, although an official date to exit bankruptcy hasn’t been set. As part of the deal, holders of $181 million in first lien debt will accept $80 million in new bonds, recovering about 46 percent of their losses. Holders of $116 million in second-lien debt will get nothing, while those who are owed $215 million in other debt will get only $40,000.
Current shareholders would also get nothing. Former Chicago-area gas station owner William McEnery owned 92 percent of Legends Gaming. His Gas City stations were sold off in bankruptcy court in 2011 and McEnery has been forced into personal bankruptcy as well. Under the plan, the reorganized Legends will pay McEnery $200,000 over the course of the year for consulting.
Documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Shreveport show the reorganization was a better deal for creditors than liquidating the company, which would bring in an estimated $57 million for creditors, versus the $86 million total projected to be recovered through the current plan.
All but two creditors voted to accept the deal, according to bankruptcy court papers. Bondholders of the new company will include Wayzata Opportunities Fund, Fortress Credit Opportunities Husky Loan Co. of Luxembourg, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. The $80 million in five year-bonds that those companies will hold will pay 10 percent annual interest. Creditors will be able to acquire shares in the new company and will get to approve its budgets, court papers show.
It would cost more than $666,000 a month to make the payments on the debt. In May, the gambling halls cleared about $1 million in operating profits before depreciation and amortization. But court papers indicate that the company needs to spend money to upgrade its casinos and acquire new slot machines. A consultant last year described the operations as “extremely outdated” and in “woeful” condition.
In most months, DiamondJacks is last by revenue of casinos in the Shreveport-Bossier City market. There, a Margaritaville casino is supposed to open later this month, bringing new competition. Casino revenues in Mississippi have been in decline statewide.
Legends also filed for bankruptcy in 2008, but even after it cut interest rates on its debts, it couldn’t make the payments.
The creditors chose Foundation, of Gulfport, Miss., to manage the casinos when they exit bankruptcy. Legends signed a contract with Foundation in April, agreeing to pay $30,000 a month plus up to $2,500 in expenses. Foundation is currently running Bally’s Casino Tunica and Resorts Casinos Tunica in northern Mississippi. A lender foreclosed on both gambling halls in 2011.
Global Gaming Solutions, a unit of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, had offered to buy DiamondJacks for $125 million. But the tribe backed out of the deal, saying Legends’ lack of investment in the casinos led to a business decline, breaking the deal, and Global should get back its $6.25 million deposit. Legends countersued, saying Global’s exit was a breach of contract, demanding to keep the $6.25 million as well as further damages. Those issues are still being fought over in court.
Both DiamondJacks’ properties were the first casino in their respective cities when opened by the Isle of Capri. Vicksburg opened in 1993 while Bossier City opened in 1994. Isle of Capri sold the gambling halls to privately-held Legends in 2006.
From The Associated Press and staff reports.