Six Montgomery County companies get loans from state -- Gazette.Net


Six Montgomery County companies will receive money from the state and county to remain here.

The business-growth loans come from the state’s Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund.

They are geared toward expansion or attraction, either helping companies already in Maryland grow or attracting new companies to the state, said Karen Glenn Hood, spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, which oversees the fund.

The Montgomery County Council voted Tuesday to adopt resolutions endorsing the loans, which include county money, to the six companies, part of the process required for the state to process the loans.

Each loan is conditional, tied to benchmarks the company must meet to keep the money, she said.

Among the factors the state looks at when considering a loan is the fundamental health of a company, whether it has a strong business plan, the company’s bottom line and strong revenues, she said.

The county wants to see that a company will stay in the county for a specific length of time, maintain the jobs it has when the agreement is signed and create a certain number of jobs, said Peter Bang, chief operating officer for the county’s Department of Economic Development.

Much of the county money often is through tax credits, Bang said.

The county money can be converted to grants if a company meets the terms of its agreement, he said. State loans are conditional loans.

The six companies to receive loans were:

• Meso Scale Diagnostics of Rockville makes biological detection and measurement equipment for the defense and intelligence industries.

It has 435 employees around the world, about 75 percent of which are based in Montgomery, according to a county memorandum on the deals.

The company plans to increase its local workforce to more than 438 over the next three years, in exchange for a conditional loan of $1.5 million from the state and a loan from the county’s Economic Development Fund of up to $1.67 million.

• Social and Scientific Systems of Silver Spring provides technical, research and management support for companies in the health field.

It has 310 employees in the county and plans to hire 150 more over five years.

The company will receive $650,000 in loans from the state and $350,000 from the county.

• Sodexo of Gaithersburg, an international food services company, employs 900 people in the county, according to the county memorandum.

The company will stay at its current location on Washingtonian Boulevard for 10 more years, and will receive a loan of $2 million from the state and $1.5 million from the county.

• Sucampo Pharmaceuticals of Bethesda will keep its corporate headquarters and the accompanying 55 employees in Bethesda and receive $300,000 from the state and $200,000 from the county. Sucampo plans to add 55 more jobs by the end of 2017.

• Total Wine and More of Potomac has more than 90 superstores in 15 states and about 310 employees in Montgomery County. The company plans to add about 150 more jobs by the end of 2018.

Total Wine and More will get $850,000 from the state and $500,000 from the county.

•Precision for Medicine, which works to commercialize scientific research, has moved its corporate offices and 16 employees to a new location in Bethesda and will look to add at least 59 more jobs by the end of 2017.

The company had previously been located in a much smaller office in Bethesda, Bang said.

The company will receive $750,000 from the state and a $200,000 loan from the county.

While the corporate headquarters will be in Bethesda, a biolab facility will be in Frederick.

All of the companies except Precision for Medicine had leases expiring and were looking at moving to other areas, Bang said.

The county can’t offer money to every company thinking about leaving, he said, but it has databases and processes to determine which companies they attempt to focus on.

Often, it comes down to what the damage would be to the county or state if a company leaves, and the opportunity cost if a company stays, he said.

“Our job is not just to play the real estate game,” he said.