Week in Review, Jan. 25-29: Oil and Gas Anxiety, TurboSquid Sale and More
NEW ORLEANS – Here, from staff and wire reports, are the city’s biggest business stories of the week:
Oil and Gas Industry Bristles Over Restrictions
President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order halting new leases for oil and natural gas development on federal land, a move criticized by the industry and some state governors. “We’re going to review and reset the oil and gas leasing program,” Biden said Wednesday at the White House. Biden said his administration is going to “properly manage lands and waterways in ways that allow us to protect, preserve them and the full value that they provide for us for future generations,” adding that his administration won’t ban fracking. … Oil and gas companies are not happy.
Deals and Debuts
Shutterstock Inc. – an online global marketplace for images – announced it will acquire New Orleans-based technology company TurboSquid Inc. in a deal worth $75 million. Founded in 2000, TurboSquid is a leading source for stock 3D models. Its customers include many Fortune 100 companies from a diverse set of industries including film and television, retail, gaming, news media, advertising, architecture and defense. … TurboSquid co-founder and CEO Matt Wisdom discusses the deal.
Shintech Louisiana LLC – a global company that manufactures polyvinyl chloride resins (commonly known as PVC) – has announced it will invest $1.3 billion to expand its manufacturing and packaging facilities in Iberville and West Baton Rouge parishes. Shintech, headquartered in Houston, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan-based Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. Ltd. Louisiana Economic Development, the agency charged with bringing new business and investment to the state, said the company will make a $1.25 billion investment to increase PVC manufacturing capacity and expand chlor-alkali and vinyl chloride monomer capacity at its manufacturing facility in Plaquemine. The company will also expand its PVC packaging and warehouse operation in Addis.
Al Copeland Jr. and Al Copeland Investments said they have partnered with senior living provider Vitality Living to transform the Copeland Tower Suites hotel (2601 Severn Ave.) into an active adult living community. 95 one-bedroom suites in the 16-story tower will be converted to 750-square-foot apartments. Nine meeting spaces will become common areas. “Al Copeland Investments and the Copeland family have a long history of offering true southern hospitality and comfort to locals, as well as out-of-town guests through our restaurants, hotels and foundation,” said Copeland. “This new partnership with Vitality will allow us to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to enhancing the overall quality of life in this region and provide a unique experience for Copeland Tower Living residents.”
Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Orleans, opening in Spring 2021, has announced a partnership with Louisiana native chef Donald Link. “We are excited to announce this partnership with Chef Donald Link and his talented team, some of New Orleans’ most renowned restaurateurs,” said Mali Carow, Four Seasons general manager. “His incredible, award-winning food, combined with this rare riverfront location will make for one of the most prized dining experiences in the City.” Scheduled to open in October 2021, Link’s restaurant and bar will sit on the Hotel’s fifth floor, adjacent to the crescent-shaped infinity pool, and offer panoramic views of the Mississippi River.
Abita Brewing Company has introduced Libre Rum & Cola, a ready-to-drink cocktail available in four-packs of 12-ounce cans. “Consumers are looking for convenience without having to sacrifice quality. We started development with the goal of crafting the best tasting rum and cola by using the highest quality, all-natural ingredients,” said David Blossman, president and CEO of Abita Brewing Company. “Our rum and cola gives you the craftsmanship of a premium-classic cocktail to enjoy at any time or occasion, in the convenience of a can.”
Virus Rules Easing
Improving coronavirus statistics have led New Orleans officials to ease some virus-related restrictions and announce plans for students to return to classrooms, but bars in the city will stay closed for indoor service through the usually raucous Mardi Gras season, city officials said Wednesday. A weeks-old public gathering ban — gatherings of people who are not part of the same household were prohibited — will be eased beginning Friday. Indoor gatherings of up to 10 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed. Capacity limits on restaurants — and bars that provide restaurant-style food service — will go from 25% to 50%.
N.O. Cruises Postponed Again
Carnival Cruise Line has announced that the Carnival Valor, based in New Orleans, won’t return to operations until at least November 2021. The company announced similar postponements nationwide because of the ongoing pandemic. “Like so much about this current global situation, we are adapting our plans as circumstances evolve and we are able to confirm alternatives,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We are disappointed that our return to seasonal ports … has been impacted and appreciate the support of those port partners and communities. The support of our guests, travel agents, ports and business partners has truly been overwhelming as we work through this situation.”