NRG Energy has obtained the final regulatory approval for the sale of its South Central Generating thermal portfolio to Cleco Corporate Holdings.

Cleco, the owner of Louisiana utility company Cleco Power, agreed to buy the 3,555 MW portfolio of assets, situated in Texas and Louisiana, for $1 billion almost a year ago (PFR, 2/7).

The last regulatory hurdle was the approval of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, which gave its blessing to the deal on Jan. 16.

Previous approvals have come from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Texas Public Utility Commission and Federal Trade Commission.

The transaction is expected to close next month with the transfer of the portfolio to Cleco Cajun, an unregulated subsidiary of Cleco.

The portfolio includes the 225 MW Bayou Cove gas-fired plant in Jennings, La., the 430 MW Big Cajun I gas-fired project in Jarreau, La., the 1,461 MW Big Cajun II project, which has coal-fired and gas-fired units and is located in New Roads, La., the 1,263 MW Cottonwood gas-fired facility in Deweyville, Texas and the 176 MW Sterlington project in Sterlington, La.

Cleco will lease the Cottonwood plant back to NRG until 2025 under the terms of the deal.

The facilities serve nine Louisiana cooperatives, five municipalities across Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, and an investor-owned utility under load contracts, according to NRG's most recent 10-Q filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchance Commission.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were co-leads on the sale while Citi was co-adviser. Jones Day is NRG’s legal counsel.

Cleco did not use an external financial adviser but retained Troutman Sanders, Norton Rose Fulbright and Phelps Dunbar as legal counsel.

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