Cleco Corp. : Cleco Corporation posts 2013 first-quarter operational earnings of $0.44 per diluted share

Cleco Corp. : Cleco Corporation posts 2013 first-quarter operational earnings
                          of $0.44 per diluted share

  *Raised quarterly dividend 7 percent to $1.45 per share annualized
  *Filed with the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) to:

       *Transfer Coughlin to Cleco Power LLC
       *Extend existing Formula Rate Plan through June 2020 to maintain
         current customer rates

  *Affirms 2013 earnings guidance of $2.45 - $2.55 per diluted share

PINEVILLE, La., Apr. 29, 2013 - Cleco Corporation (NYSE: CNL) posted 2013
first-quarter operational earnings of $26.1 million, or $0.44 per share, up
from $24.9 million, or $0.42 per diluted share recorded in the first quarter
of 2012. Operational earnings exclude amounts for underlying indemnifications
and other nonoperational adjustments. Generally accepted accounting principles
or GAAP earnings for the first quarter of 2013 were $27.1 million, or $0.45
per diluted share, down from $30.0 million, or $0.50 per diluted share
recorded in the first quarter of 2012.

"We produced solid results in the first quarter. In addition to favorable
weather compared to the first quarter of 2012, we maintained our cost
management initiative from last year," said Bruce Williamson, president and
CEO of Cleco Corporation. "We remain confident in our strong financial
position today and going forward. As a result, we elected to raise our
quarterly dividend from $0.3375 to $0.3625 per share or $1.45 per share for
the year. Since 2010, we have raised our dividend five times and produced a 61
percent increase in dividend payments for shareholders.

"Earlier this month, we completed two filings with the LPSC," said Williamson.
"First, we filed to transfer Coughlin Power Station from Cleco Midstream to
Cleco Power. Through its 2012 Request for Proposals, Cleco Power selected
Coughlin to meet its customers' power needs, including a long-term wholesale
contract with Dixie Electric Membership Corporation, which increases our
utility's load over 20 percent. The independent monitor continues to remain
involved in the process, which we expect to finalize on or by April 30, 2014.

"Our second filing requests a five-year extension of our current Formula Rate
Plan through June 2020," said Williamson. "In addition, this filing addresses
the rate treatment of the Coughlin transfer. While others around us are
seeking to raise retail rates, our filing does not increase rates for our
retail customers.

"Finally, we are affirming our current earnings guidance range of $2.45 to
$2.55 per diluted share for 2013," said Williamson. "We remain committed to
producing value for our shareholders through sustained, low-risk earnings
growth. This guidance assumes normal weather for the remainder of the year,
minimal earnings contribution from Midstream and excludes non-operational
adjustments."

     Consolidated Earnings - Reconciliation of GAAP to Non-GAAP Measures
                                                    Diluted Earnings Per Share
                                                       For the three months
                                                          ended Mar. 31
Subsidiary                                              2013           2012
Cleco Power LLC                                           $0.46        $0.44
Cleco Midstream Resources LLC                            (0.02)       (0.05)
Corporate and Other                                           -         0.03
Operational diluted earnings per share (Non-GAAP)          0.44         0.42
Adjustments^1                                              0.01         0.08
Diluted earnings per share applicable to common
stock                                                     $0.45        $0.50

^1 Refer to "Operational Earnings Adjustments" in this news release

Quarter-Over-Quarter Operational Diluted Earnings Per Share Reconciliation:

 $0.42    2012 first-quarter operational diluted earnings per share
  0.10    Non-fuel revenue
(0.02)   Rate refund accrual
(0.04)   Other expenses, net
(0.03)   Interest charges
  0.01   Income taxes
 $0.02    Cleco Power results
  0.03    Cleco Midstream results
(0.03)    Corporate and Other results
 $0.44    2013 first-quarter operational diluted earnings per share
  0.01    Adjustments^1
 $0.45    2013 first-quarter reported GAAP diluted earnings per share

^1Refer to "Operational Earnings Adjustments" in this news release

Cleco Power

  *Non-fuel revenue increased earnings by $0.10 per share compared to the
    first quarter of 2012 primarily due to $0.05 per share from higher
    electric sales due to favorable weather and $0.04 per share from
    adjustments to Cleco Power's formula rate plan. Also contributing to this
    increase was $0.02 per share of higher transmission and distribution
    revenue. These increases were partially offset by $0.01 per share of
    lower mineral lease payments. 

  *Rate refund accrual decreased earnings by $0.02 per share compared to the
    first quarter of 2012 primarily due to the absence of the reversals of the
    2012 cycle accrual and the fuel audit reserves.

  *Other expenses, net, decreased earnings by $0.04 per share compared to the
    first quarter of 2012 primarily due to $0.03 per share of higher property
    taxes, $0.02 per share of higher depreciation expense, and $0.01 per share
    from higher net non-recoverable wholesale power capacity charges. These
    decreases were partially offset by $0.02 per share from lower operations
    and maintenance expenses.

  *Interest charges decreased earnings by $0.03 per share compared to the
    first quarter of 2012 primarily due to $0.04 per share related to
    uncertain tax positions from the absence of a favorable settlement
    recorded in 2012, partially offset by $0.01 per share related to the
    retirement of pollution control bonds in May 2012. 

  *Income taxes increased earnings by $0.01 per share compared to the first
    quarter of 2012 primarily due to the adjustment to record tax expense at
    the projected annual effective tax rate.

Cleco Midstream Resources

  *Midstream's results increased earnings by $0.03 per share compared to the
    first quarter of 2012 primarily due to $0.04 per share of higher tolling
    revenue and $0.02 per share primarily related to uncertain tax positions
    from the absence of an unfavorable settlement recorded in 2012. These
    amounts were partially offset by $0.03 per share of higher expenses
    associated with the spring outage at Evangeline.

For a discussion of other transactions affecting Cleco Midstream's results,
please refer to "Operational Earnings Adjustments - Acadia Unit 1
Indemnifications" below.

Corporate and Other

  *Income taxes decreased earnings by $0.03 per share compared to the first
    quarter of 2012 as a result of $0.02 per share for tax credits and $0.01
    per share for miscellaneous tax items.

Operational Earnings Adjustments:

Cleco's management uses operational earnings per share, which is a non-GAAP
measure, to evaluate the operations of Cleco and establish goals for
management and employees. Management believes this presentation is
appropriate and enables investors to more accurately compare Cleco's
operational financial performance over the periods presented. Operational
diluted earnings as presented here may not be comparable to similarly titled
measures used by other companies. The following table provides a
reconciliation of operational diluted earnings per share to reported GAAP
diluted earnings per share.

  Reconciliation of Operational Diluted Earnings Per Share to Reported GAAP
                          Diluted Earnings Per Share

                                                    Diluted Earnings Per Share
                                                       For the three months
                                                          ended Mar. 31
                                                        2013           2012
Operational diluted earnings per share                    $0.44        $0.42
Life insurance policies                                    0.01         0.01
Acadia Unit 1 indemnifications                                -         0.07
Reported GAAP diluted earnings per share applicable
to common stock                                           $0.45        $0.50

Reconciling adjustments from operational diluted earnings per share to GAAP
diluted earnings per share are as follows:

Life Insurance Policies

Cleco has life insurance policies covering certain members of management.
These policies have a cash surrender value component that is carried as an
asset and adjusted due to market changes, premium payments, or policy
redemptions. Cleco is unable to predict market changes and cash surrender
value amounts of these policies, and management does not consider these
adjustments to be a component of operational earnings. 

Acadia Unit 1 Indemnifications

Acadia Power Partners, LLC provided limited guarantees and indemnifications to
Cleco Power when it acquired Acadia Unit 1 in February 2010. Acadia Power
Partners, LLC and Acadia Power Holdings will reduce the indemnification
liabilities either through expiration of the contractual life or through
changes in the probability of a claim arising. During the first quarter of
2013, the contractual expiration of the underlying indemnifications had no
impact on earnings. The resulting adjustment for this item for the first
quarter of 2012 increased earnings by $0.07 per share. 

Cleco management will discuss the company's first-quarter 2013 results during
a conference call scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Central time (8:30 a.m. Eastern
time) Tuesday, April 30, 2013. The call will be webcast live on the internet.
A replay will be available for 12 months. Investors may access the webcast
through the company's website at www.cleco.com by selecting "Investor
Relations" and then "Q1 2013 Cleco Corporation Earnings Conference Call."

Please note: In addition to historical financial information, this news
release contains forward-looking statements about future results and
circumstances. There are many risks and uncertainties with respect to such
forward-looking statements, including the weather and other natural phenomena,
state and federal legislative and regulatory initiatives, the timing and
extent of changes in commodity prices and interest rates, the operating
performance of Cleco Power's and Cleco Midstream's facilities, the impact of
the global economic environment, and other risks and uncertainties more fully
described in the company's latest Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly
Report on Form 10-Q. Actual results may differ materially from those
indicated in such forward-looking statements.

Cleco Corporation is a regional energy company headquartered in Pineville, La.
Cleco owns a regulated electric utility company, Cleco Power LLC, which owns 9
generating units with a total nameplate capacity of 2,565 megawatts and serves
approximately 283,000 customers in Louisiana through its retail business and
10 communities across Louisiana and Mississippi through wholesale power
contracts. Cleco also owns a wholesale energy business, Cleco Midstream
Resources LLC, which owns two generating units with a total nameplate capacity
of 775 megawatts. For more information about Cleco, visit www.cleco.com.

Analyst Contact:
Tom Miller
(318) 484-7642
Media Contact:
Robbyn Cooper
(318) 484-7136

                                For the three months ended Mar. 31
(Unaudited)               (million kWh)            (thousands)
                       2013    2012   Change     2013        2012      Change
Electric Sales
Residential             840     784    7.1%     $61,700     $56,390      9.4%
Commercial              582     570    2.1%      44,049      41,747      5.5%
Industrial              555     550    0.9%      21,125      20,092      5.1%
Other retail             33      32    3.1%       2,566       2,360      8.7%
Surcharge                 -       -       -       2,237       2,815   (20.5)%
Other                     -       -       -     (1,565)     (1,555)    (0.6)%
Total retail          2,010   1,936    3.8%     130,112     121,849      6.8%
Sales for resale        441     390   13.1%      12,279      11,785      4.2%
Unbilled               (63)    (88)   28.4%     (4,188)     (4,302)      2.6%
Total retail and
wholesale
customer sales        2,388   2,238    6.7%    $138,203    $129,332      6.9%

                              CLECO CORPORATION
                 CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
               (Thousands, except share and per share amounts)
                                 (Unaudited)
For the three months ended Mar. 31                       2013         2012
Operating revenue
Electric operations                                     $229,425     $209,590
Other operations                                          11,543       10,946
Gross operating revenue                                  240,968      220,536
Electric customer credits                                   (21)        2,237
Operating revenue, net                                   240,947      222,773
Operating expenses
Fuel used for electric generation                         85,365       73,064
Power purchased for utility customers                      4,856        8,637
Other operations                                          26,924       27,700
Maintenance                                               17,635       17,235
Depreciation                                              34,032       31,846
Taxes other than income taxes                             12,634       10,030
Loss (gain) on sale of assets                              1,034         (33)
Total operating expenses                                 182,480      168,479
Operating income                                          58,467       54,294
Interest income                                              201           34
Allowance for other funds used during construction         1,164        1,017
Equity income from investees, before tax                       -            1
Other income                                               2,273        9,375
Other expense                                              (435)        (656)
Interest charges
Interest charges, including amortization of debt
expense, premium, and discount, net                       21,831       20,968
Allowance for borrowed funds used during construction      (375)        (344)
Total interest charges                                    21,456       20,624
Income before income taxes                                40,214       43,441
Federal and state income tax expense                      13,081       13,410
Net income applicable to common stock                    $27,133      $30,031
Average number of basic common shares outstanding     60,399,697   60,372,567
Average number of diluted common shares outstanding   60,667,401   60,598,975
Basic earnings per share
Net income applicable to common stock                      $0.45        $0.50
Diluted earnings per share
Net income applicable to common stock                      $0.45        $0.50
Cash dividends paid per share of common stock            $0.3375      $0.3125

                              CLECO CORPORATION
                    CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
                                 (Thousands)
                                 (Unaudited)
                                           At Mar. 31, 2013  At Dec. 31, 2012
Assets
Current assets
Cash and cash equivalents                         $46,467           $31,020
Accounts receivable, net                           63,855            77,034
Other current assets                              246,014           339,284
Total current assets                              356,336           447,338
Property, plant and equipment, net              3,025,165         3,009,461
Equity investment in investees                     14,541            14,540
Prepayments, deferred charges and other           671,090           676,010
Total assets                                   $4,067,132        $4,147,349
Liabilities
Current liabilities
Long-term debt due within one year                $16,625           $91,140
Accounts payable                                   66,131           102,695
Other current liabilities                         128,744           100,795
Total current liabilities                         211,500           294,630
Deferred credits                                1,032,273         1,096,248
Long-term debt, net                             1,314,229         1,257,258
Total liabilities                               2,558,002         2,648,136
Shareholders' equity
Common shareholders' equity                     1,539,627         1,531,583
Accumulated other comprehensive loss             (30,497)          (32,370)
Total shareholders' equity                      1,509,130         1,499,213
Total liabilities and shareholders' equity     $4,067,132        $4,147,349

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Source: Cleco Corp. via Thomson Reuters ONE
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