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S&P downgrades Cleco citing debt concerns

Standard& Poor's Ratings Services downgraded ClecoCorp.'s issuer credit rating to BBB- on April 8 citing "materiallyweaker financial measures" as a result of its debt-laden acquisition by a consortium of investors.

The companywas previously rated BBB+.

The -ledinvestor group plans to fund the $4.7 billion acquisition with the help of debtwhich will carry over to the company in the amount of $1.35 billion, weakening its funds from operations, S&Psaid. The Louisiana Public Service Commission signed off on the deal in late March.

The ratingagency also cited $136 millionin customer rate credits and the company's inabilityto file a rate case before June 2019 as risks to its financial profile.

S&Pdid however affirm the issuer credit rating of Cleco's utility subsidiary at BBB+.