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December 11, 2010

Laurentian Aerospace secures financing

Laurentian Aerospace secures $175M project financing

PLATTSBURGH — Laurentian Aerospace Corp. has lined up the funding it needs for liftoff.

Laurentian Senior Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer Andrew Edwards was in Plattsburgh Friday to deliver the news the region has been waiting for since 2006.

"Verdant Capital Group will invest, alongside the management group, the capital required to allow Laurentian to begin the project," Edwards said at a news conference held at the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce.

UP TO 900 JOBS

The $175 million project will supply state-of-the-art maintenance, repair and overhaul to wide-body aircraft at Plattsburgh International Airport.

About 900 good-paying jobs — the highest level mechanics can expect to earn $75,000 to $80,000 per year — are expected to be created within two years of construction completion.

The company looks to start out with 200 to 300 jobs. The exact number will be based on contracts with airlines and employee training.

MARCH CLOSING

The closing of financing is expected to take place on or before March 1. It is subject to a number of conditions, including Verdant's completion of final due diligence, updating and execution of agreement documentation.

Edwards cautioned that there is always a possibility of market volatility again affecting the plan, as it did in late 2007.

"I wouldn't be standing here today if I wasn't confident it would get done," Edwards said.

He said construction would then start about April 1. It is expected to take about 18 months.

'EMBRACED THE IDEA'

By phone later Friday, Laurentian Aerospace President and CEO Robin Wohnsigl said the company remains excited about the opportunity in Plattsburgh.

"I think all in all, it's a good story and good news, especially right before Christmas," he said.

The quality of the relationship with Verdant Capital has been impressive from the start, Wohnsigl said.

"When I first met these guys and they started talking, it was apparent they had an affinity for the North Country. They have embraced the idea to create a world-class MRO center."

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