Pineville-based Cleco Corp. reported a third-quarter profit of $70.8 million, or $1.17 per share, up from $66.4 million, or $1.09 per share, a year ago.

Despite the improvement, Cleco’s results fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. Stock analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research had forecast earnings of $1.23 per share.

Cleco Chief Executive Officer Bruce Williamson said the company expects 2015 operational earnings in the range of $2.28 to $2.38 per share.

A week ago, Williamson announced Cleco would be sold for $3.4 billion to a group of investors led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and British Columbia Investment Management Corp., along with John Hancock Financial.

Williamson said selling the utility benefits shareholders while Cleco will continue to provide safe and reliable service to customers. Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway has criticized Williamson’s efforts to sell the company and in July, said the Cleco board of directors should ask for Williamson’s resignation.