AIM board member Laclede Group picks new name

Laclede Gas is a member of Associated Industries’ Board of Directors.

From The St. Louis Business Journal

After growth driven by a string of acquisitions in recent years , St. Louis-based Laclede Group is unifying its companies under a new name: Spire.

The name comes from a Laclede subsidiary founded in 2013 that operates a compressed natural gas fueling station near Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and another in Greer, South Carolina. But company leaders told theBusiness Journal that Spire tested well for broader use. And with the relatively recent acquisitions of Missouri Gas Energy, for $975 million, and Alabama Gas Corp., for $1.6 billion, Laclede Group, which was named after St. Louis’ founder, Pierre Laclède, needed to streamline its branding.

“This is thinking about bringing employees together across the organization, from Alabama to western Missouri to this region,” Suzanne Sitherwood, the company’s CEO, said in an interview. “The parent name is how investors know us. The gas companies’ names are how the communities know us. So bringing everyone together and articulating that mission and common purpose is important.”

Jessica Willingham, Laclede’s vice president of corporate communications and marketing, said testing showed that people associate Spire with “inspire, aspire, something that’s high, tall, far-reaching.” The company’s new logo consists of two shapes meant to form a handshake. It and all marketing materials will be orange. New York-based Interbrand assisted in the rebranding process.

Shareholders will be asked to approve the name change at a special meeting April 28, then the company’s shares will trade under a new ticker symbol, SR, the next day.

A new sign will soon be installed on Laclede’s corporate headquarters, at 700 Market St., where the company’s been for about a year, Sitherwood said. Laclede had been at its old downtown headquarters, at 720 Olive St., since 1970, but a $46.4 million renovation of 700 Market got $7 million in tax increment financing from the city of St. Louis.

Sitherwood said after the name of the holding company changes, its gas companies, including Laclede Gas, will change theirs to Spire, likely next year. “2017 is when the communities will see the biggest change, because the things that are visible to them — bills, the website, trucks, uniforms” will carry the new logo, she said.

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