03/21/2018–The Marinette County Board is being asked to consider borrowing to make a $50 million dollar loan to Fincanteri Marinette Marine to help the shipyard upgrade for new contracts on the horizon. Marinette Marine would pay back the loan with interest over seven years. The loan would only be made if the company is successful in landing a 4 ship contract for the Saudi Navy. And it would be paid off before that contract is completed. The Board met Tuesday to get information on the proposal and ask questions.
The question raised by many is why the company would be looking for a loan from the county, rather than from commercial sources. One reason says Jeff Belongie, the County’s long time financial consultant is interest rates.
Marinette Marine CEO Jan Allman says the loan also shows the local support that helps when competing for contracts.
Allman says Fincanteri has already invested $200 million dollars in Wisconsin. The company plans to use $50 million dollars of its own money for the proposed shipyard upgrades.
County Administrator John LeFebre says the new investment plus a projected 400 new jobs will benefit not only the county, but the city and schools as well.
Marinette Marine will be making its proposal to Lockheed Martin for doing the Saudi contract in April, and the financing is part of the proposal, so the County needs to make a decision soon, probably at next week’s regular board meeting.