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Fusion Paperboard to receive $3 million state loan

By Johanna Somers

Publication: theday.com

Published April 23. 2013 6:00PM   Updated April 23. 2013 11:55PM

Hartford — Sprague-based Fusion Paperboard is expected to receive a $3 million loan from the state to repair its paper machine and General Electric turbine, according to the State Bond Commission’s agenda.

“This is very good news,” state Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, said in a press release. “I’ve been looking to help keep Fusion Paperboard in Connecticut and in Sprague, and this loan will help do that and protect over a hundred local jobs.”

The loan, which would be repaid over 10 years with 3 percent interest, would come from the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development. The loan is part of a larger $16.5 million DECD bond authorization package.

The State Bond Commission likely will approve the package Friday.

Fusion Paperboard produces high-performance coated, recycled boxboard, folding cartons and packaging for North American food and consumer product manufacturers, according to its website. It also produces 100 percent recycled, food-grade paperboard at its Sprague mill.

The $3 million will be used to repair its paper machine, which produces recycled paper, and its General Electric turbine, which generates the power for the machine, according to the press release.

The project costs $6 million in total and should keep 147 employees working and create 20 new jobs by 2016.

Osten said she has been meeting with Fusion Paperboard representatives for more than a year and that the company’s jobs are key to the region’s economy.

“These jobs are vital, in part because they are not just service-sector wage jobs but living-wage jobs,” Osten said.

If the company creates the 20 new jobs with minimum salary requirements, retains the 147 old jobs by 2016 and maintains them for 12 months, it could be eligible for loan forgiveness of $500,000, according to the Bond Commission’s agenda.

j.somers@theday.com

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