The state Economic Development Authority on Thursday granted preliminary approval to $5 million worth of business expansion and development loans, continuing a trend of increased loan activity for the organization.
During their regular board meeting Thursday morning, authority members granted preliminary approval for three new business loan packages, issued a final approval on a loan package considered at a prior meeting and also approved a resolution that will allow a Wayne County automotive parts company to expand its operations.
This was the second month in a row that the authority gave preliminary approval to three new business loan applications.
Authority executive director David Warner said at the September meeting that it seemed more businesses were approaching the organization to finance new businesses or expansions at their current facilities.
Warner said Thursday the increase in business finance activity appears to have continued into October.
"It seems to have picked up here recently," he said.
Warner said the recent federal government shutdown and concern over a potential U.S. default doesn't appear to have affected confidence or decision-making at any of the companies the authority has been in contact with.
While he couldn't yet predict how many new loan offers might come before the board next month, he said business activity has remained steady at the organization.
Board members on Thursday granted preliminary approval to two multi-million dollar loan packages.
Machined and fabricated parts maker Fairmont Tool Inc. received initial approval for a $3 million loan package to add an additional building at their site in the Marion County Industrial Park.
The company plans to use the new building to test pipelines and other materials manufactured for the oil and gas industry. Company officials project the expansion will create 43 new jobs over the next three years.
The company will initially receive a 10-year, $607,500 loan to purchase the land. The interest rate on the loan will be set at .75 percentage points greater than the 10-year U.S. Treasury interest rate at the time the loan closes.
The second loan -- a 20-year, $2.452,500 loan -- will be used to finance the construction of the new building and purchase equipment. Its interest rate will be set at .75 percentage points greater than the 20-year U.S. Treasury rate at the time the loan closes.
The authority also approved a 10-year, $2 million loan to finance the purchase of new equipment at Bridgeport-based drone and aerospace vehicle parts manufacturer Aurora Flight Sciences of West Virginia, Inc.
The rate on the loan will also be set at the 10-year U.S. Treasury rate, plus .75 percentage points.
The company hopes to use the new equipment to develop parts to be used in a new prototype helicopter currently being developed by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.
The board also granted initial approval for a $233,000 loan to Greenbrier Vault and Casket Co., LLC, which it will use to acquire the assets of the Greenbrier Valley Memorial Vault company.
The interest rate on the loan will be set at the Wall Street Journal's published prime rate, minus 4 percentage points, or at 4 percent, whichever is greater.
In other action, the authority gave final approval to a $3 million loan package to Clarksburg-based Stockmeier Urethanes, USA Inc. to grow its existing warehouse and expand into a new building.
The authority gave initial approval to the loan at its September meeting.
The company, founded in 2003, manufactures and installs polyurethane floor, turf and recreational ground coatings used in outdoor and indoor sports facilities and playgrounds.
Board members also approved a resolution to allow for the purchase of up to $750,000 in new equipment for the Allevard Sogefi USA, Inc. automotive parts manufacturing plant in the Pritchard Industrial Park in Wayne County.
The authority will obtain a loan from the state Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council to purchase the equipment then lease it to Allevard Sogefi. Monthly lease payments will be arranged so that the equipment purchase will be fully paid for, plus interest, over a five-year period.
Also Thursday, the authority received its annual independent audit report from the Suttle and Stalnaker accounting agency in Charleston, which found no significant issues with the authority's accounting.
For the fiscal year that ended June 30, the authority entered into more than $58 million worth of loan and lease agreements. Its total assets increased by more than $18.2 million to total $270.3 million by the end of the last fiscal year.
@tagline:Contact writer Jared Hunt at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.