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WVEDA funds Defense Department project

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Economic Development Authority decided Thursday to fund a Virginia-based company's prototype helicopter for a Department of Defense project

Aurora Flight Sciences is headquartered in Manassas, Va. but operates a production plant in Bridgeport. The plant manufactures parts for unmanned aircraft, or drones, as well as helicopters.

The 10-year, $2 million loan will finance new equipment at Aurora's Harrison County facility. David Warner, WVEDA executive director, said the authority has done business with Aurora before.

"They have been pretty successful in the past with working on different Defense Department applications," Warner said. "So, we're hopeful they will be successful on this effort as well."

The plant employs 40 workers and will expand to 100 employees after one year and 200 after three years, according to the WVEDA.

Also Thursday, WVEDA members approved loans totaling $3 million to fund Fairmont Tool's expansion project.

"I'm pretty excited," said Nathan Kincaid, Fairmont Tool president. "We will be building additional buildings to further facilitate our work."

The two loans are going toward the purchase of new equipment and leasing nearby property, owned by Marion-Taylor Enterprises, to Fairmont Tool.

The adjacent property will be used to expand the company's workyard while adding additional buildings.

The company employs 67 people, and will look to employ 90 workers after one year and 110 after three years.

Members also passed a resolution allowing Allevard Sogefi USA, an Italian auto parts manufacturer, to purchase new equipment. This will not be the first business the two engage in.

"We're just adding $750,000 worth of equipment to what we own and will be leasing to them," Warner said.

Also, members provided approval for a 15-year, $223,000 loan for Greenbrier Vault & Casket to acquire Greenbrier Valley Memorial Vault.

Wes Sheridan, manager for Greenbrier Vault & Casket said the company is acquiring the business from his father-in-law, who is retiring.

"That's going to help save nine jobs," Sheridan said. "It was important to get that financing for that. We were thrilled."

The authority also lowered Enterprise Properties' interest rate for the duration of its loan.

"Their rate had been 5.82 percent, which, in today's interest rate environment, is high," Warner said.

Lastly, accountants from Suttle & Stalnaker presented their independent audit of the authority. The report found no inconsistencies.

According to Suttle & Stalnaker's report, the WVEDA's total net position increased approximately $5.64 million, total assets increased by approximately $18.22 million and loan and lease agreements total approximately $58.05 million.

Reach Caitlin Cook at caitlin.cook@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.


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