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State approves $1.7 million low-interest loans to Bucks manufacturers

Two Bucks County companies will receive a total $1.7 million from a state program to help expand operations and retain jobs.

A state-run financing program approved more than $1.7 million in low-interest loans to a Bensalem manufacturer and a Middletown distribution warehouse that will help the companies grow operations and retain more than 160 total local jobs.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Monday the approvals made by the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA), part of more than $7.4 million in fixed loans made to 11 small business projects across the state.

“These fiscally responsible investments support a broad array of private-sector enterprises that reflect the formidable strength and diversity of Pennsylvania’s economy,” said Wolf, in a statement. “Through these investments, we are securing a better future for Pennsylvanians who are working in manufacturing, energy, electronics, logistics, agriculture, and other businesses that provide family-sustaining wages and help our local communities to grow and thrive.”

Bensalem-based Rhino Cable Service Inc. will receive a $775,000, 15-year term loan and a $60,000, five-year term machinery and equipment loan, both at a fixed 2-percent rate. The funding will assist the expansion of its 22,500 square-foot facility, located on a 3.2-acre property on Blanche Road. The project will renovate and upgrade the facility and purchase machinery. Founded in 2005, Rhino Cable Service manufactures equipment for major cable companies, including Comcast. The expansion will create and retain 36 full-time jobs within three years, according to PIDA’s statement.

PIDA also approved a $1 million, 15-year loan at a 2-percent interest rate to Middletown-based Eastern Warehouse Distributors Inc. The company, founded in 1989, will use the money to expand its 27,000 square-foot warehouse on Wheeler Way. With the expansion, Eastern Warehouse Distributors will retain 130 jobs, PIDA’s press release says. The company distributes auto parts to clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The loan approvals were facilitated by the Bucks County Economic Development Corp., which handles all Bucks applications for the PIDA program. The organization has helped Bucks manufacturers and distributors acquire more than $9 million from PIDA’s low-interest loan program this year, according to Executive Director Robert Cormack. That’s the largest amount distributed to Bucks since the $13 million approved for county companies in 2014. In 2015, the total dropped to $4.9 million and rose to $5.2 million in 2016, Cormack said.

“There’s definitely been an uptick,” said Cormack Tuesday afternoon. “That’s partly because of the strength of Bucks’ manufacturing economy and partly the interest rate drop. It was reduced to 2 percent (from 4 percent) in July, and the businesses couldn’t pass it up.”

Businesses looking to take advantage of the lower interest rate have until the end of the month to submit an application before the rates rise again, said Cormack. The 2-percent rate will hold for another two months during PIDA’s approval process.

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