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Cleco receives investment grade credit ratings from Moody’s and S&P

Apr 8, 2016

Companies remain investment grade

PINEVILLE, La. – Cleco Corporation (NYSE:CNL) today announced that it and its regulated electric utility subsidiary, Cleco Power, received credit ratings from both Standard & Poor's (S&P) and Moody's Investors Service (Moody's) that retain the companies' investment grade status following the close of the transaction.

Moody's affirmed Cleco Power's A3 senior unsecured rating and downgraded Cleco Corporation's senior unsecured rating to Baa3 from Baa1. S&P affirmed Cleco Power's BBB+ corporate and senior unsecured rating and lowered Cleco Corporation's credit rating to BBB- from BBB+.

Cleco and a group of investors led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, with John Hancock Financial and other infrastructure investors (collectively, the investor group) made commitments to the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LSPC) that included maintaining Cleco Corporation's investment grade credit rating with one or more ratings agencies at the time of closing of the transaction announced Oct. 20, 2014. Cleco and the investor group received approval for the transaction from the LPSC during a special meeting held March 28, 2016.

"We are pleased that Cleco Corporation's credit ratings remain investment grade," said Darren Olagues, incoming president and CEO of Cleco Corporation. "Currently, Cleco Power's credit ratings are higher than other investor-owned utilities in Louisiana. This affirms the credit worthiness of our company and reflects the strength of our expected financial standing post-transaction closing."

Investment grade ratings provide more favorable pricing when securing bonds or other debt financing.

Forward-Looking Statements

Please note: Statements in this press release include "forward-looking statements" about future events, circumstances and results within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, both as amended by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact included in this press release, including, without limitation, statements containing the words "may," "might," "will," "should," "could," "anticipate," "estimate," "expect," "predict," "project," "future", "potential," "intend," "seek to," "plan," "assume," "believe," "target," "forecast," "goal," "objective," "continue" or the negative of such terms or other variations thereof and similar expressions, are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements. These statements are based on the current expectations of Cleco's management.

Although Cleco believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, such forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions (some of which may prove to be incorrect) and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results and events in future periods to differ materially from Cleco's expectations and those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements because of a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors. Risks, uncertainties and other factors include, but are not limited to: (i) the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstances that could give rise to the termination of the merger agreement; or could otherwise cause the failure of the merger to close; (ii) the failure to obtain any financing necessary to complete the merger; (iii) risks related to disruption of management's attention from Cleco's ongoing business operations due to the merger; (iv) the outcome of any legal proceedings, regulatory proceedings or enforcement matters that may be instituted against Cleco and others relating to the merger agreement; (v) the risk that the pendency of the merger disrupts current plans and operations and the potential difficulties in employee retention as a result of the pendency of the merger; (vi) the fact that actual or expected credit ratings of Cleco or any of its affiliates, or otherwise relating to the merger, may be different from what the parties expect; (vii) the effect of the announcement of the merger on Cleco's relationships with its customers, operating results and business generally; (viii) the amount of the costs, fees, expenses and charges related to the merger; (ix) the receipt of an unsolicited offer from another party to acquire assets or capital stock of Cleco that could interfere with the merger; (x) future regulatory or legislative actions that could adversely affect Cleco; and (xi) other economic, business and/or competitive factors. Other unknown or unpredictable factors could also have material adverse effects on future results, performance or achievements of Cleco. Therefore, forward-looking statements are not guarantees or assurances of future performance, and actual results could differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements. Given these risks and uncertainties, investors should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements.

Additional factors that may cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements are set forth in Cleco's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2015, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Feb. 26, 2016, under the headings Part I, Item 1A, "Risk Factors," and Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," and in subsequently filed Forms 8-K. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to Cleco or persons acting on its behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the factors identified above. The forward-looking statements represent Cleco's views as of the date on which such statements were made and Cleco undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of changes in actual results, change in assumptions, or other factors affecting such statements.

About MIRA 

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) is the world's leading infrastructure asset manager with growing portfolios in real estate, agriculture and energy. MIRA manages more than $101 billion of assets under management invested in more than 120 portfolio businesses, ~300 properties, ~ 3.6 million ha of farmland. MIRA is part of Macquarie Group, a leading financial services provider across a diverse range of sectors around the world. Founded in 1969, Macquarie Group is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and has operations in 28 countries and has a total of $370 billion in assets under management.

About bcIMC 

With C$123.6 billion of managed net assets, the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC) is one of Canada's largest institutional investors within the global capital markets. Based in Victoria, British Columbia, bcIMC is a long-term institutional investor that invests in all major asset classes including infrastructure and other strategic investments. bcIMC's clients include public sector pension plans, public trusts, and insurance funds.