Bridge loan salvages Isaacson Steel for now

Isaacson Structural Steel will be able to continue operating until the end of September, thanks to a bridge loan and an order issued Monday by the bankruptcy court.The bridge loan may lead to new financing, and unless it does, the Berlin employer of 160 crucial jobs could be broke again.Under the deal, Isaacson will be able to spend its cash, which is sitting in Passumpsic Savings Bank in Vermont, if it pays Passumpsic – a secured creditor owed at least $12 million — $30,000 a month for its structural steel business as well as another $12,000 for Isaacson Steel, a separate but related retail steel business that is now part of the same reorganization plan.The bad news for Passumpsic is that it has to take a backseat to the $500,000 bridge loan from Cate Street Capital Inc. of Portsmouth. That loan has to be paid back at the end of September.Even with that loan, the company will dip into the red at the end of August, but it is expecting to receive $1.2 million from its largest project, the 20-plus story Liberty Mutual building being built in Boston.What happens in October is still unclear. Isaacson proposed a $2.25 million Business Finance Authority loan, which in turn depends on tax credits from the controversial Berlin Station wood-burning power project, whose future is uncertain.On Tuesday, the Berlin City Council voted for a payment in lieu of taxes agreement, pushing the project forward, if the project closes before Sept. 1. Business Finance Authority Director Jack Donovan told NHBR that he expected the project to close next week.If so, the funds for Isaacson should be available shortly afterwards, he said. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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