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Carbonyx loan package gets final approval

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The state Economic Development Authority on Thursday gave final approval to a $15 million loan package to help Carbonyx International USA build its new Jackson County plant.

The authority also gave initial approval to a new $900,000 loan for an expanding Fairmont company that has already been approved for $3 million in loans so far this year.

Last month, Carbonyx announced plans to purchase 56 acres of land near Ravenswood to build a plant that will use a proprietary process to create a coal-based substitute for coke, the key ingredient used to manufacture steel.

The company plans to build the plant in phases, the first of which will be constructed within two years and result in 60 permanent jobs. Officials hope to grow the plant even further over the next five to seven years, eventually investing more than $250 million and creating an additional 200 jobs.

To help the company finance the purchase of its initial round of equipment, the Economic Development Authority gave initial approval last month to a 10-year, $15 million low-interest loan package for the company.

The authority gave final approval to the loan package at its regular meeting Thursday. The interest rate on the 10-year loan will be set by adding 0.75 percentage points to the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond rate at the time of the loan's closing.

Also Thursday, the authority granted initial approval to a $900,000 loan for machine and fabricated parts maker Fairmont Tool, Inc.

It's the second loan package the authority has approved for the company this year.

In October, the authority gave the green light to lend the company $3 million to add an additional building at its 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 is initially receiving a 10-year, $607,500 loan to purchase the land. The second -- a 20-year, $2.452,500 loan -- will be used to finance the construction of the new building and purchase equipment.

The new 10-year, $900,000 loan is intended to be used to finance the purchase of new equipment at the company's existing building.

David Warner, the authority's executive director, said the company has earned a reputation among companies working in the Marcellus shale region as a reliable source for natural gas drilling pipelines.

He said that new business has helped lead to the recent rapid expansion at the facility. The company projects the expansions will allow it to hire more than 50 new workers over the next three years, growing its workforce from 67 to 118 employees.

In other action, the authority tabled action on a resolution to modify provisions of bonds related to improvements at Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park.

In 1999, the authority approved the sale of $45 million of bonds to finance improvements at the park.

The park's development company, MHLP, Inc., wants to use about 15 acres of land for construction of about five private cottages. However, the authority must approve the release of that land first.

However, the company is also looking to change the fee structure underlying the bonds. Company representatives said Thursday the initial fee structure set back in the 1999s was overly optimistic regarding the golf resort's projected revenues, which factor in to those payments.

As a result, the company had not been receiving the money it had anticipated under the agreement.

However, some board members, including acting state Tax Commissioner Matt Matkovich, said they were not comfortable approving those changes without doing further research on the matter.

The authority plans to hold an informational meeting with MHLP executives sometime over the next month to review the changes, and then revisit the matter at its next regular meeting in January.

Contact writer Jared Hunt at business@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4836.


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