City officials announced yesterday the approval of a $1.1 million loan to Ellicott Machine Corp., paving the way for the company to remain in Baltimore.
The approval of the loan means that 100 jobs will be retained in the city. Without the loan, the assets of the company's dredging division would have been sold to a foreign competitor, and most of the jobs here would have been lost.
Ellicott Machine, founded in 1885, is the oldest and largest U.S. dredge maker and has built equipment for the Panama and Suez canals. The company, which has suffered along with other maritime-related companies in recent years, has annual sales of about $15 million.
The approval of the loan will help a management group, led by Peter Bowe, president of the Dredge Division of Ellicott Machine, buy assets of the division and restructure the company under the name Ellicott Machine Corporation International.
Yesterday's announcement caps a yearlong effort by state and local officials to retain the company and jobs in Baltimore. In July 1992, Ellicott's directors announced that they had agreed to sell the assets of the dredging division to IHC Holland, the world's largest dredge-equipment maker.
If IHC had bought the division, it would have closed the plant and reduced the Baltimore operation to an engineering and sales office with 15 to 20 employees.
The loan includes $1 million in state money that was made available to the city. In turn, the city made the money available to Ellicott Machine. In addition, the city put up matching funds of $111,112.
"This is another important example of how we can work with the state to keep manufacturing in Baltimore City," Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said in a statement. "Ellicott Machine Corp. has a century of commitment to Baltimore as an employer as well as an exporter using the port of Baltimore."
Mr. Bowe, the president of Ellicott's dredging division, said in a statement that both the city and the state had "persevered on this project for a long time, and it's safe to say that without their support this project would not have happened."
The Baltimore Development Corp., the city's economic development agency, worked with Ellicott Machine officials and the Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development.
BDC said that Ellicott Machine's payroll and purchases from Baltimore-area vendors represent $10 million annually for the area's economy.