offer to Safire of $17.4 million incentive
The Naples Daily News is reporting that an offer by Collier
County (FL) of $17.4 million as an incentive to Safire Aircraft Co.
is still on the table. But there's a catch -- Safire would have to
move to a Collier County airport, Immokalee Regional. So far,
Safire's response is that it considers itself solvent, and will
know by late July if it is interested in relocating.
ANN has been covering the Safire story closely ever since things
went from bad to worse for the company, ostensibly
because of a delay in a financing deal that would have
provided the company with badly needed cash flow.
Safire ran out of money last week after the delay was announced,
and suspended operations. Some 100 employees were laid off almost
immediately after the financing deal with a Swiss investor did not
take place on schedule.
"We are strapped for cash. We were expecting to have this
closing April 30. It's 60 days late," Safire President and Chief
Executive Officer Camilo Salomon on Thursday.
After stating that he would know by Thursday whether or not the
financing deal was closed, Salomon said he was planning to fly to
Geneva on Thursday to close on the investment contract on June 23.
He would then reopen operations at Safire's current location at
Opa-Locka no later than June 28. However, Salomon stated that the
new investors will become the new board of directors of the
company, and they apparently do not want any decisions on
relocation to be made until then. According to Salomon, a decision
will be made by July 30.
The offer from Collier County and its Economic Development
Council is not new.
ANN reported the original offer from the county back in
March. Since then, both the County and the Council
have been taking some heat for allegedly not being aware that
Safire was having financial problems. Nevertheless, Collier County
Commissioner Fred Coyle and EDC Executive Director Tammie Nemecek
confirmed that the offer is still on the table, and even though
Safire's problems have worsened, they feel that they are still
correct in offering the incentives.
"At this stage of the process, what we have done is given them a
list of incentives that would be given to them based on the
criteria of the jobs they would create. At the point they get
serious and say we are one of three sites, we come to the table for
final contract negotiations," Nemecek said. Coyle added that at
that point, the county would negotiate safeguards as part of the
contract for the incentives that would protect the county
Dade County, where the company is currently located, is also
working to convince Safire to stay at Opa-Locka Airport, with an
offer of nearly $20 million in incentives.